Summary: The editor-in-chief of Bible Study magazine addresses the importance of a Christian’s continued growth in Christ and challenges listeners to embrace God’s plan for their lives and their communities.
We have all at one point or another asked a simple question to ourselves, "Does my life have meaning?" In a mixed up, chaotic world, we wonder, what difference am I making? Am I part of the problem, or am I part of the solution? Is my life relevant? And when it really gets hard we ask the deepest question, "What is the point in me living at all?"
I am here today to tell you that your life does have meaning. In a mixed up, chaotic world, you can make a difference. You can be part of the solution. Your life can be relevant. When it really gets hard, you can look in the face of adversity and say, "There is a point in me living. There is a point to my life."
You may be asking yourself, how can he honestly look at me and say such things. Is he serious? Maybe he is just an idealist. Well, maybe I am just an idealist, but I am most definitely serious. Let me tell you why I believe in you, even though I do not know you. Let me tell you why Jesus believes in you, even though He does know you.
Before I can begin to tell you about you, I must first tell you about us, all of us. All of us live in a mixed up, chaotic world. We all want a faith that is relevant. And we all want our own lives to be relevant. Deep down in everyone, no matter how much they want to fight it, they want to believe. They want to believe in something that is bigger than them. And it is my belief that everyone wants to see change in our world. No one is satisfied with the way it is. However, some people simply ignore it. Others are just numb to it. Whereas others believe there is something else, a life after, and in return they do not feel obligated to this world. And some people, very few people, do feel obligated to this world. They do not only want to see change, they believe that change will occur.
I am one of these people. I believe in change. I believe in an eternal God, who has created a beautiful place for all who believe in Him through Christ Jesus. This place we call heaven. But, unlike many people who claim to believe this, I believe that God will restore this world and will make it like it is in heaven. This is why Jesus’ prayer goes, "May your kingdom come, may your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." I believe that the kingdom will come and that God’s will, will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. But I also believe that this will occur through God’s people working to restore our world, until the day that God finally brings full restoration. I believe that this is what the kingdom of heaven is really all about.
The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. (Matthew 13:31-32 ESV)
When I first heard this parable I was surprised, as are many people. Why does Jesus compare the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed? I have recently spent some time learning about mustard seeds. Partly because of Jesus’ parable, but partly because I just really love mustard. Is there anything better than mustard on a hot dog or on a sandwich? I learned many fascinating facts about mustard seed, such as that it has many health benefits and that it is so strong that it can actually create permanent sinus damage if it is used in too large of quantities. Here is a picture of mustard seed next to a penny, look at how small mustard seed is; also take a look at the jar of mustard seed in my hand. Now, here is a picture of mustard plants; look at how thick they are. This really puts Jesus’ parable in perspective for me.
Jesus uses a very down to earth analogy because He wants us to realize how down to earth the idea of the kingdom of heaven really is. Jesus is not speaking about a distant place or a far off galaxy. Jesus is speaking about mustard seed--seed that grows, seed that must be cultivated. This is how our faith must be. It must be growing, not only within us, but among us. This is how the kingdom of heaven must be, it starts small, but the greatest things can come from the smallest of actions.