Formations lesson for Jan. 9: The Rise of the Kingdom : Friday, Dec. 17, 2004
December 17 2004 by Jeff Wisdom

Formations lesson for Jan. 9: The Rise of the Kingdom : Friday, Dec. 17, 2004
Friday, Dec. 17, 2004

Formations lesson for Jan. 9: The Rise of the Kingdom

By Jeff Wisdom
Focal Passage: Matthew 13:31-33

Rich is not how much you have, or where you are going, or even what you are. Rich is who you have beside you.

(Author Unknown)

Someone

I am not sure how to thank those individuals who have stood beside me over the years. All I can do is take the seeds they have thrown my way and let them find root in my faith, my actions and dreams. We all are indebted in some way, shape or fashion to someone whose life has inspired us, challenged and corrected us. They are the "someones" in the story.

The sower of the seed in Matthew's tale is anonymous, but is not unknown. The story reads as if the name of the sower is not as important as the seeds he throws. Anonymity only ensures that the sower could be anyone - everyone. It could be you. It could be me.

The seed

The seed in the parable is small. The mustard seed is not literally the smallest of all seeds - botanists attribute that honor to certain species of orchids. It was, however, the smallest seed with which Jesus' listeners would be familiar.

Like most seeds, the mustard seed goes unnoticed until given a chance to grow. Seeds like generosity, gratitude, encouragement, benevolence, giving and support can offer safehaven to those who feel insignificant and alone.

A friend of mine had a conversation with a friend of his on a day when he felt small and all alone. The friend offered a word of encouragement, which, with only six words - "I have always believed in you" - was the seed that reminded him that he was not small and insignificant, but was still valuable and important.

Other "seeds of the kingdom" can be found in scripture's listing of spiritual fruit that may grow in the life of the believer. These are the seeds of "peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Gal.5: 22-23).

Each seed grows and becomes more to the one to whom the seed is given, but first it has to be sown.

The size of the kingdom

The size of the seed illustrates that the kingdom of God is built on small, almost unnoticed acts that grow to become something larger.

In an article from the Charlotte Observer, written by David Perlmutt and subtitled: "When Good Deeds Multiply," Antoine Richards was caught late one night without the correct change to pay for his dinner. Walking across the street, he tried to get change to pay his bill, but the store did not have the money Richards needed. When a stranger gave him the money he needed to pay his bill, Richards was shocked by the gesture, but thankful.

The day before Thanksgiving, Antoine was in the grocery store line when a lady in front of him could not get the store's ATM machine to read her card. With every try, the woman grew more frustrated and embarrassed. Finally, Antoine reached into his pocket and pulled out $40.00 and gave it to her. Walking out the store together, Antoine had a chance to tell her his story. A small act of generosity had taken root and become a larger one.

Evangel

Gratitude and appreciation, then, are attitudes that mark the kingdom of God and best describe the focus of this parable.

The kingdom of God is a gift of God, often invisible to our eyes, a realm of relationship which God makes available through the seed of grace.

We all are the beneficiaries of a relationship with Christ. He stands beside us believing in each of us, paying the price for each of us. In turn, you and I are to tell others about Christ, and provide a friend who will stand by them.

12/17/2004 12:00:00 AM by Jeff Wisdom | with 0 comments




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