OF MUSTARD SEEDS AND LEAVEN
Yesterday in church I heard a simple sermon that impacted me in a big way. It was about mustard seeds and leaven (Luke 13:18-21). Evidently Jesus’ followers were wondering why it was taking so long for Jesus to be proclaimed King and everyone follow Him. Instead, there was growing rejection and opposition. So Jesus used these two simple parables to teach that His rulership of the earth, His “Kingdom,” starts very small and grows slowly. As it grows, though, it improves all it touches and will eventually cover the whole earth. They are just two simple parables that I’m sure you are as familiar with as I am, but they teach an important lesson.
However yesterday I applied it to my life in a way I never had before. I’ve been a Christian for 61 years, ever since I saw Billy Graham on TV from Madison Square Gardens in May, 1957. Sometimes I get very impatient with myself, even a bit discouraged, that I haven’t come any further than I have in my own spiritual growth over that time. I should be WAY beyond where I am now! Things I should have had victory over decades ago still seem to defeat me. In fact, sometimes I think I am moving in the wrong direction in some areas of my spiritual life. Do you know what I’m talking about? I don’t think I’m all alone in this! But Jesus’ words about the mustard and seed and leaven reassure me His is working in me, continually and progressively. God works slowly but He does good work! I find that very reassuring, for I am running out of time to get it all together spiritually. Yet I am reassured that is how He works.
When I look at the USA in the last 61 years it seems even worse. The movement is definitely in the wrong direction. So is the church a failure? Is God’s Kingdom not growing here? Of course it is – Jesus says it is (Matthew 16:15-20). The growth is hidden, inside, like a seed and leaven. God is working slowly but surely to build His church here and He will prevail. That’s encouraging and reassuring for me!
I’m encouraged to patiently keep trusting and growing in my own spiritual life, not matter how slow it seems (Philippians 1:6). I’m encouraged to patiently keep building into others and do all I can to help His Kingdom grow in this country and India. I’m especially encouraged to know God will take the spiritual seeds, which we sow into our grandchildren and bring them along through their whole lifetime. I’m encouraged to keep ministering to pastors in India, even though we only touch one person in 130,000. I’m encouraged because I’m reminded God doesn’t work the way I expect (thank God) but in His own slow but steady way. I hope that encourages you as well!
Luke 13: 18 -21 Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” 20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Think about God’s faithfulness to you through the years, His patient working in your life to bring you to the place where you now are. Do you think He will stop now? He will not!
Perhaps you’ve given up on someone because you don’t see much spiritual growth in their life. Continue to pray for them. Persevere in patience.
by Rev. Dr. Jerry Schmoyer, Christian Training Organization