Then he said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.’” Again, he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” (Luke 13:18-21)
At times I smile ruefully at the antics of the human race. I scratch my head and wonder why we keep getting it wrong. About what?
Let’s talk first about Christianity. From the outset, Jesus told everyone that God was coming to change the world — to bring the low high and the high low, to feed the hungry and send those who are regularly full away empty, to make the lowly proud and the proud lowly. That first doctrine was eminently calculated to call forth the enmity of the natural heart. It did. Its first movements brought down on its friends’ persecution from all quarters. Pharisees and Sadducees, Jews and Gentiles, ignorant idolaters and self-conceited philosophers, all agreed in hating and opposing Christianity.
But no matter how small it’s beginning, the Kingdom grew and spread throughout the world. The basic premise is that every human being carries the seed of eternal life, that we are called to be children of God. A grace of transformation has come through Jesus Christ for all of humanity. The billions of non-Christians in the world also carry within themselves the seed or image or eternal life with God. The goodness and humanity in the non-Christian world, represent a yearning for what is yet to be revealed.
Yet, our world is still topsy-turvy. Wars, famine and even plagues. In spite of all those who seek goodness and humility, we still face what we do. In truth, it’s our fault. Yup. It is. Enough of us don’t allow that seed of eternal life to take root in our lives. Oh, yes, we read scripture, maybe even go to Church regularly, maybe even commit random acts of kindness. But truth is that we don’t commit to its growth. We sure care about the growth of our children. We certainly pay attention to the growth of our job or career. If we marry, we work hard at assuring our marriage grows in love. But we don’t cultivate the belief that we are significant in the growth of our world. Significant. You and me.
Yet Jesus says that God’s unexpected, order-upsetting kingdom will nevertheless infiltrate this world, spreading like mustard seed, attracting all kinds of unsavory and unlikely people into its realm, and infecting the whole batch of our lives. If you and I would nurture it, it will have life until it grows big. When others could benefit from it , you become God’s instrument of blessing for others. That sure makes me stand tall.
But not enough allow God’s Kingdom to take root in their hearts. They prefer the things of this world than God. They choose the temporary over what is eternal, the worldly over Godly. They choose the path of least resistance rather than the thorny path. Or even more concerning they drown it out because they live in a bubble of their own making.
Jesus called us to apply the parables on a personal level. When looked at this way, we see that even the small things we do to make ourselves presentable to God can make an enormous impact.
To live our lives to the full, we must nurture the hidden mustard seed of divine possibility within us. Like the woman who kneads the yeast into the dough that will be baked into life-sustaining bread, we can do our part to contribute freshness, life and dignity, wherever we are.
Even small acts of kindness can have an impact for good our expectations. We need not think they have to be big and impressive to count. The lesson Jesus drives home to our minds is that God’s Kingdom begins small in our hearts but can grow into something that can transform the world.
So the question of the day and tomorrow’s tomorrow is “will you allow the kingdom of God to have a permanent dwelling in your life so that God could bless others through you?”
Prayer of The Day
“Dear God, overcome our defenses and infect us with your Spirit that sees good where most see evil and offers grace where others would offer condemnation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Our Lord himself is a mustard seed: so long as he had undergone no attack, the people did not recognize him. He chose to be hustled…; he chose to be pressed in such a way that Peter said: “The crowds are pressing in upon you” (Lk 8,45); he chose to be sown like a seed that a man takes and throws on his garden, for it was in a garden that Christ was both arrested and buried. He grew up in this garden and was even raised up again in it. You, too, sow Christ in your gardens, then Sow the Lord Jesus: he was seed when he was arrested, tree when he rose again – a tree overshadowing the world. He was seed when buried in the earth, tree when he rose up to heaven.