Slow, Splendiferous Growth
Almighty, eternal God, may Your Kingdom grow and spread through all the earth! May Your name be praised!
Read Mark 4:21-34
 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?  For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.  If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”  “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you-and even more.  Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”  He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.  Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  All by itself the soil produces grain-first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.  As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”  Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?  It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground.  Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”  With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand.  He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat do these parables teach about the Kingdom of God?
The carpenter from Nazareth may now have been an expert on horticulture (27) but he was the ultimate expert on the ways of God. In the natural world Jesus saw the miracle of growth. He saw tiny things grow into huge things. Jesus knew this was the handiwork of his heavenly Father. He also knew that, apart from the mortal sinfulness of this world, God-given growth would be even more amazing. Hence his exaggeration in v. 32; the mustard plant, as far as I can see, is a rather spindly thing.
Once again, Jesus is reflecting on the realities of his own ministry. He chose to avoid the crowds and the lure of celebrity. Instead, he invested his effort into a small group of carefully chosen men and women. They were growing. They would continue to grow. But their season of mature fruitfulness was a long way down the road. Jesus was confident that, in the economy of God, his teaching would spread far and wide. He would have to be patient but growth would come!
Ask God to show you parables relevant to your life and your ministry. What lessons of God’s ways do you see?
Lord, I pray to see Your Kingdom grow and I pray for patience as I work and wait for that to happen.
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