Summary: Jesus uses a living illustration to tell us about being productive in the Kingdom.
Over 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to find the source of the Missouri River, and from there to discover a relatively easy water route west to the Pacific. Such a waterway, they discovered, doesn't exist. But they did succeed in mapping the Northwest and, 15 months after they began pushing themselves upstream, they found, near today's Montana-Idaho border, the source of the mighty Missouri.
Lewis's journal records that on August 12, 1805, a member of the expedition, Private Hugh McNeal, "exultingly stood with a foot on each side of this little rivulet and thanked his God that he had lived to bestride the mighty and heretofore deemed endless Missouri."
The Missouri at its source looks a lot different than the powerful current that flows into the Mississippi River near St. Louis!
And in the Kingdom, too, many great things start out small.
Mar 4:30 And he said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it?
• Notice Jesus’ cautious and loving interaction with his audience.
• He poses the question, “what can we compare?”
• Such wording included the listener into the puzzle of the teacher.
• The teacher partners with the students and says, let’s do this together.
• “What parable can we all agree to use?”
• A teacher involves the students in the learning and decision making process.
• This is hard for some of us to do. Others, it is natural.
• Once the student is sitting on the front of the chair, listening with bated breath,
• The lesson is presented.
Mar 4:31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."
• The mustard seed was the smallest of the domestic seeds used in the area.
• It grew rapidly into a tree.
• Despite being an annual tree, it grew very large in one season.
• The tree can grow to 12-15 feet in a year.
• It was popular with the birds because of the mustard seeds and the shade.
• It went from the smallest seed to the largest garden plant or tree.
• The tree was a marvel to the farmers and observers of that day.
• Thus, it’s comparison to the kingdom of God.
• When the bible refers to the Kingdom of God, it is typically not speaking about Church.
• The Kingdom of God is far larger than the Church.
• But the beginning of the reign of Christ is common with the Church.
• That is the discussion here.
• Out of nowhere, it seemed, a single man began to walk the land around Jerusalem and Canaan.
• He began to teach and heal. His popularity grew, but only temporarily.
• He selected 12 men to help Him start a work.
• It was truly a humble beginning.
• That beginning was not managed like we would have managed it.