Summary: We may not know what God is doing but be assured, God is doing it!
Title: God is quietly at work in our lives and in the world… establishing his Kingdom.
Text: Mark 4:26-34
Thesis: We may not know what God is doing but be assured, God is doing it!
Introduction – Enigmatic? What to do with it? It feels like an FYI.
On August 12, 1805, near the Idaho-Montana border, Hugh McNeal, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, stood with a foot on each side a little rivulet that is the source of the Missouri River. That rivulet does not resemble the powerful current that flows into the Mississippi River near St. Louis.
Similarly, our text today likens the innate power in a tiny seed to the development of the Kingdom of God. The parable that follows is the Parable of the Mustard Seed which make further illustrates the nature of the Kingdom of God by citing how the tiniest of seeds becomes a largest of garden plants.
We understand the Kingdom of God is the reign or rule of God in our lives and the world.
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are praying for the rule and reign of God in our lives and in the world.
In this parable Jesus teaches us that…
I. God’s work in our lives and in the world is a process - Patience
“The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground.” Mark 4:26
A process is a series of systematic actions that lead to a desired result or end. In some cases a process is a series of changes that happen naturally.
Any farmer who wishes to grow a crop understands there is a process that takes place… a farmer does not plant a seed and immediately expect to harvest the crop. So if the Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground… we understand the Kingdom begins in our lives as a seed but the end is a harvest. In between is a process.
There is a process for nearly everything. There is a BeautifulPeople.com web site where you can connect with beautiful men and women. In order to join BeautifulPeople.com applicants must submit their information including their photo. Then existing members of the opposite sex rate the applicant as to whether they find the applicant beautiful or not so much. If the applicant garners enough positive votes they are granted membership to the BeautifulPeople.com community. They call it a screening process to avoid what they call “the riff raff.” The process for BeautifulPeople.com is a process of elimination. They have a strict ban against ugly people… fatties need not apply. (Stephanie Bosenbloom, “Narrowing the Field Before Playing It,” New York Times, 1/5/11; Mallory Simon, “Dating site for beautiful people expels ‘fatties’ after holiday weight gain,” CNN 1/4/10)
It’s a process of elimination.
If you wish to make a cup of Starbucks Expresso you begin by finely grinding 14 grams of Expresso Roast Arabica beans which you then squash into a puck with a tamp. Then hot filtered water is run through the puck for 18-23 seconds to extract a delicious shot of Expresso. If the grind is too fine the result is thick and bitter and if the grind is too course the result is weak and watery. The process is important to get a perfect shot of Expresso.
If you happen to be walking the cereal aisle of your grocery story you will come to the pancake syrup section. You will see that a tiny bottle of pure maple syrup is on the top shelf and costs $7. Then you will see on the lower shelves big bottles of Hungry Jack for $3. There is a reason pure maple syrup is on the top shelf.
Workers go deep into the woods where they use hand drills to make small holes in the trunks of maple trees. A metal tube called a spike is tapped into each hole and a bucket is hung on each spike. The sap begins to drop in the bucket… it is thin and clean like water only with a hint of sweetness. On a good day 50 maple trees will yield 30-40 gallons of sap.
The buckets are then dumped into large kettles over an open fire and the sap comes to a slow boil. As it boils the water content is reduced and the sugars are concentrated. Hours later it has developed a rich flavour and golden-brown in color. It is then strained several times to remove impurities and graded for quality. The end product is one gallon of pure maple syrup from 50 trees producing 30-40 gallons of sap.
The secret to delicious pure maple syrup is in the process.