“Hide it under a bushel, NO!” You’d better let it shine. If you grew up attending Awanas, Vacation Bible School, or any other number of children’s ministries you might have sung this song and squealed with delight when you got to yell “NO!” at the top of your lungs. While this parable in Matthew 5 focuses on the responsibility of the light bearer, in Mark Jesus’ emphasis falls on the one who sees the light of revelation and ignores it. Perhaps someone should add a line, “Want to ignore this little light of mine? NO!”
Jesus the Storyteller, Part Two
In today’s passage, Jesus continues His parabolic teaching on the kingdom of God. Yesterday highlighted the role of the individual along with the role of the Son; today’s passage heavily emphasizes the King’s role in the kingdom. Children’s ministers do well to train young disciples to share their faith. Yet teaching about the opposite side of that coin must accompany it: the hearer bears the weight of the responsibility too. Jesus teaches that in the kingdom, those who have received the invitation will reap much more to come, but those who have rejected the offer will have everything taken away. This should free us from the weight of feeling like we must evangelize perfectly, share excessively, and present cleverly. We shine; God illuminates. Those who see must respond.
God Grows Us
After all, we kid ourselves if we think we cause the growth. As Jesus continues teaching what the kingdom of God is like, He reminds us that it grows miraculously. In the same way the farmer lacks understanding of the inner workings of the process from seed to harvest, believers lack understanding of how the seeds of the kingdom go from being sown to growing to being harvested.
We trust. This trust allows us to put our heads on our pillows at night and sleep peacefully knowing that God ultimately directs and guides His kingdom. While He graciously and generously uses us to build it, our work is significant but not necessary. This actually frees us. We can share fearlessly, pray fervently, and build things without fear of failure. God remains faithful despite our failures. So we ask God to use us mightily, knowing that all growth for the kingdom ultimately comes from the King.
Finally, we trust that even when it seems as if the Enemy is winning, God’s kingdom started from humble means, like a mustard seed, but it has and will continue to bloom into a place of provision and rest. A King born in a manger unleashed His kingdom into the world. This King picked twelve followers, one really lousy one in the bunch, and spent only three years in a tiny corner of the world demonstrating His deity and Messiahship to mostly hostile audiences. Out of this came an unstoppable force—the kingdom of God which spans over two thousand years, seven continents, and billions of people (and counting). We worship an eternal King and belong to an unstoppable kingdom. So when the world seems to be winning, check the scoreboard again and remember: we won, we win, and we will win because Jesus the Messiah guarantees the victory.
What surprises you about Jesus’ selection of the twelve disciples?
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