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Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
31 He put before them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 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." 33 He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened."
44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46 on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it. 47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; 48 when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 51 "Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes." 52 And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."
I have preached on these verses over and over and over again and I gotta tell you, Jesus did not take even one course on attractional church and growing a group of believers. Cause you aren’t supposed to tell people any of this. If you want to grow a church, if you want to attract believers, the workshops and zoom calls and books tell you, you need to make things as easy as possible for people. You need to not let them know how the gospel you have to offer already goes with the lifestyle they have chosen. You have to let them know how all their friends will be down with the thing.
Jesus did not take this route.
Jesus, in these few paragraphs lets you know. The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed or some leaven. It may seem small but it is gonna spread and it is going to change everything. The kingdom of heaven is going to cost you, it is going to cost you everything you own, it is going to cost you all of your dollars, if you found it for real you become obsessed with it and your life changes. You make some serious sacrifices. It is worth it. The kingdom of God catches everybody up, but people get sorted out in the end.
Dang Jesus. Don’t you know that is not what people want to hear? Aren’t we supposed to be about the good news?
The good news is that we are invited to this work. The good news is that Jesus does transform us. The good news is that one taste of the kingdom of heaven and we are ready to be all in. A tiny bit of yeast is gonna change the whole bread, even if you can’t see it working right away. One look at the treasure of the kingdom of God and you will sell the whole farm to get in on it. The good news is that we get to be the scribes if we want to. We get to be witnesses to this stuff.
In the time of coronavirus when I feel like my whole life has been put on pause, it is easy to believe that the kingdom of God has been put on pause, but that isn’t the way the kingdom of God works. It works like leaven in the bread, it works like the roots of a mustard seed. It sneaks in, it changes things. It works when we aren’t seeing. It expands, it sneaks into cracks.
And the kingdom of God is worth whatever sacrifice you have to make. It is worth it to sell everything you have, to lose friends, to lose opportunities to lose social cache to follow the kingdom of God.
Over and over again I am struck by how what we see as foolishness God says, nope this is it, this is the way it is. This is how the kingdom comes. I am struck by the people hanging Christmas lights to bring their neighbors joy, the power of leaf blowers to push tear gas away, the people who hand out free food and water and the wall of mothers bodies to protect protestors. Things that are “silly” are “average” are “not very valuable or useful.” That is where the kingdom comes. That is worth everything we’ve got.