The kingdom of God is so rare, and so valuable, that we should surrender everything we have to possess it. Only those who put everything they have into the kingdom will experience its full value.
In this parable we learn that the kingdom of God, like wheat, grows alongside the world (weeds) it will someday overcome. As people of the kingdom, we are not to (1) disentangle from the world, or to (2) overpower it on our own. We are to leave room for the judgment of God.
While we wait for the kingdom of God, we are called to pray for in prayer we build the rails which allow the kingdom to come. In prayer, we learn that there are limits to our work; there are things only God can do, and things that he wants to do. Prayer is an invitation to join him in those things. This sermon will explore practical ways of praying more effectively.
This is a troubling story for us because we imagine that we are those who came into the kingdom first. Because of this, we often have an entitlement mentality, assuming that God “owes” us success or favor because of how hard and how long we have served him. In fact, we are those who came into the kingdom later, and we must learn that God blesses whom He blesses for reasons all His own.
Just as we are to be always compelling more to come into the kingdom, we are to show compassion to those are the least, to the untouchables, to those marked or damaged by life. But how do we serve those who are high maintenance without suffering compassion fatigue? It is our compassion, and not our plan for their lives that motivates us, for we will not know until the final day what good our efforts have done.
In these two parables is the balance between being ready for the next world, while remaining active in this one. While it has always been true that those who thought the most of heaven did the most on earth, we often favor one over the other. In this message we’ll challenge the church to stay active in redeeming our world, while being hopeful of the world to come.
Like a mustard seed, the kingdom of God is small but powerful; like yeast it is hidden but active, causing everything around it to rise. It disrupts. It transforms. It changes whatever it permeates. As people of the kingdom, we are called to influence the places where we work, and live, and gather with the message of the kingdom of God.
In this brief story, Jesus shows us how to enter the kingdom of God, not as one who is accomplished or as one who is better than others, but as one seeking mercy. The paradox of the Christian life is this: The more “Christian” we become, the harder it is to stay Christian for our faith is based, not on our performance but on our need.
Like many who heard the parables for the first time, we can be “ever hearing but never understanding;,” (Matt 13:14) and the surest way to do it is try to understand, for the parables are not something to be merely understood, but something to be entered, explored and practiced. To do so we must engage them with more than just our minds.