Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Kingdom—Slow and Steady Growth

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

Jesus used several farming analogies to teach us about the Kingdom of God. The Parable of the Sower [or Parable of the Soils] is among the most famous. There is another, however, that captures my attention. Commentators call it “The Parable of the Growing Seed.”

It starts the same as the famous parable with the planting of the Kingdom by scattering the seed of God's Word on the ground. From that point on, it stresses the mystery of the Kingdom’s slow, steady growth. 

The sower does his job of scattering the seed, then he goes about his daily routine. He gets up in the morning and goes to bed in the evening. While he is doing that, the seed germinates and slowly grows, unseen by him. Sure, he can measure the growth of the plant, but he cannot see it growing. Then, he waits patiently.

Please don’t mistake patience for passivity. Paul told the Corinthian Christ followers there needed to be planting, and watering, but God was the One that caused the growth [see 1 Corinthians 3:6]. In other words, the farmer has little to do with the harvest. That’s the point Jesus emphasized in this parable. The sower doesn’t make a seed grow. Likewise, we who labor for God’s Kingdom don’t make the Kingdom mature. That is God’s work.

Let me say it this way: Most often, we don’t know what God does with our labor in the “field of harvest.” We plant the seed then go about our business. We get up in the morning and go to bed in the evening. And while we are doing these mundane things, God germinates the seed of His Word, which eventually produces a harvest.

Our job is to plant the seed, God’s job is to make it grow. In a similar way, we are tempted to try and “grow the Church [Kingdom].” Some do it by making the Gospel less offensive or exclusive. Some try attracting people to the Kingdom by means other than the simple sowing the Word. 

My encouragement for your daily walk with God is, keep on sowing [preaching] the Word. Preach the Gospel faithfully, then trust God for growth. The harvest will come and with lasting results.

[Jesus] said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29

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