Wednesday Reflection – July 10, 2019
The Mustard Seed Effect – Part 2
Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.
As I reflected some more and did further readings on this New Testament text used for reflection on Monday, many thoughts began to consume me. I felt led to share some more thoughts on this text. Jesus indicates that the mustard seed grows into the greatest of shrubs and unnaturally becomes a tree. Indeed, it is the simplicity of the gospel that produces exponential growth. The spread of the gospel began like a humble, lowly plant, yet with a powerful, pervasive, penetrating and pungent effect. The church has grown like a great shrub and tree.
Yet, I believe that there is a word of caution here. There are aspects of the church that have grown into a huge, ungainly, abnormal tree, concerned with power, pride and domination, wanting to be served instead of to serve. Too many churches have become more concerned with putting up great, imposing church buildings as a sign of our prestige and status in the community. We want to create an image that sells like secular businesses, and we become consumed with advertising and publicizing ourselves to keep ourselves before the eyes of the world. We crave for power and pursue setting up empires, instead of building the Kingdom. I think that sometimes the way the gospel is proclaimed we forget that the church doesn’t save anybody; the Lord does. The church doesn’t help anyone; it is the Lord who helps through us. We sometimes forget the Lord and talk more about our church. Look again at the early Christians, they never mentioned the church until after a person joined the family of God. They talked about Jesus.
Jesus also states that ‘…the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” What does this mean? Ray Stedman points out for us that right in this series of parables, Jesus tells us what the birds mean. In the first parable he said that when the seed of the word falls upon a hardened human heart, the birds come and snatch it away. The birds represent the evil one, the enemy, whose evil powers and forces are at work upon people’s lives. For Stedman, “… vultures and buzzards, birds of prey, apt symbols of evil persons and evil ideas make their home right in God’s church.” One of the ways that this is demonstrated is where preachers and spokespersons for the church propagate a flood of stupid, ridiculous, mixed-up ideas. These are evil concepts which have blasted, blighted and even ruined the hearts and minds of people. We must wake up, discern right from wrong, and ban anything that is not truth from our pulpits and worship services. Too many Christians have fallen asleep while seeds of falsehood are being sown and producing evil plants and fruits. IT’S TIME TO WAKE UP!!!
Till next week, may a fresh anointing fall on us as we build God’s Kingdom.