Both of these passages reveal to us that the growth of God’s kingdom is gradual and mysterious. It doesn’t occur all at once. It also is beyond our comprehension. Furthermore, these passages stress the divine power of the seed, i.e. the ‘word of the kingdom’.
Jesus’ emphasis here is particularly on the hearers in receiving the seed of the gospel. The seed is always good. Its growth however, is determined on the type of soil it falls on. In the same manner, the full experience and transforming impact of the Gospel is contingent on the receptivity of people’s hearts to God. A genuinely attentive heart will determine whether the seed will have its desired fruit bearing effect in a person’s life.
People respond differently depending on their readiness to receive the Gospel. Thus, it is not in our hands as ‘sowers’ to control the speed or determine God’s timing for growth. God does not call us to be ‘goal orientated’ measuring how successful we are as sowers through the number of conversions. God only commands us to preach the Gospel to all nations. The results belong to Him alone. Our task is simply to scatter the seed and nourish it and reap the harvest. Growth is ultimately God’s imperative.
Linked to this is the remarkable contrast Jesus draws in the image of a mustard seed – the smallest of all the seeds but in its final stages of growth producing a tree as large as 8–12 feet. In the light of the expansion of God’s kingdom, do not despise the start of small beginnings for they have the potential to gradually turn into remarkable growth, becoming an avenue of mighty blessing. What may seem to be insignificant to our eyes now will reap significant abundance in time to come. Small becomes great when God is at work. So the kingdom of God may seem unimpressive at first, but appearances can be deceptive because no one can ignore it at the end. We must be patient and remember that, very often, human valuation ultimately misses the point!
Keep on keeping on…
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