He told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field .Though it is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.
Last summer I began my life with my new wife at our home near Charlotte, and for the first time in my life I understood why all those old men take such pride in there yards. I still consider myself relatively young, 27, but when your eyebrow hair starts growing crazily and your nose hair comes out of your nose like an wild bush, you might be getting old. At least these have been the signs that I am getting old.
So I planted some grass seed and put some hay on top of it and I got some rare and expensive sunflower seeds and planted them in a flower bed I that I had prepared for the seeds. Now mind you this was the first thing that I had planted in my life. So everyday at or around dusk I faithfully went outside and water these seeds. I waited and watered, and then waited…. and watered; Then I got impatient and went out and bought more seed and plant those and went back to my routine.
The sunflowers came up and they were beautifully tall and dark red and the grass came up, and strangely enough I had scattered too much seed because you could not even run a rack through it with out tearing it out of the ground. So this was year number one in my career as a “gardener” if you will, but the experience was an amazing one.
What I figured out more than anything else was that the circumstances that I had control over where not enough to control the outcome. In my desire to control the outcome I really messed everything up and waisted a lot of my time and a lot of water.
Paul writes in regard to ministry that John plants the seed, Apollos waters, but it is God who brings the growth (Author’s paraphrase). What a mystery the kingdom of heaven is… It’s not in our control.
I woke up early this morning and the above parable from Matthew 13 was on my heart. And then I went back to sleep and three hours later I woke up again and it was still there with basically the following interpretation.
The kingdom grows like a tree in the middle of the garden for birds to perch in. It is not fully understood how and why its branches stretch the way they do, they just grow with there own purpose. In the 21st century anyone can explain why this is the way it is but none of us can control it. Just like my experience in my front yard it is just out of my hand. You see it seems that most of us today would rather have fake plants in our yard and grass rolled out in our yard than have to depend upon “nature”. This is the way we like our churches… we would rather have token “prayers” to God that sound pretty, than actually call out to the one who is always present. We would rather pull a sermon that will keep people comfortable than to preach the “word of the Lord” for the people. Because let’s be honest here, its messy, it requires lots of “blood, sweat and tears”. But I believe that just like sunlight, soil, and water are required for a plant to have a chance at growing, the church cannot have a chance at being the Church without devotion to prayer, doctrine, and community.
But you see we have turned this formula into a religion where we think we have the “ball” in our court; So we can manipulate every situation to our own comfort. This is extremely dangerous.
A young lady at work recently apologized to me for “cussing in my presence”. This absolutely pissed me off. I was not upset at her, but I was upset at the shallow religious people who had helped shape her understanding of Christianity into a manipulation of actions. The following day I had a “divine” opportunity to speak with her about this and I said as follows…”Your cussing doest have SHIT to do with my salvation in Jesus Christ” I then began to speak, under what I believe to be the anointing of God, explaining to her that Christianity is a lot bigger than my or her cussing and even her and my existance.
You see people have got so tied up in religous Chritianity that it has become something that even effects the unsaved around us. I believe that the Jesus of the Gospels loved the tax collector and sinner. I believed he loved them. He LOVED them He went and ate with them and told them stories that they liked to hear and joked with them. And in the process he presented the love of the Father in grace and truth.
Today I stand looking towards the tree that stands in the garden that grows high and strong and I pray the I will be used to help it grow. I will not settle for a plywood decoration from a fifth grade Sunday School play. I want the real thing, I want a real Church and I won’t settle for anything else until I die or am killed.
This blog is dedicated to Jonathan Martin and Al Sergal two guys who have helped shape my understanding of Christian thought.