March 2, 2016 Year C
Jesus shared two short parables in which He described how the kingdom of God would grow. First, He compares the growth of the kingdom to the growth of a mustard seed. The smallest of all seeds grows after it is planted and dies in the ground. It rises to be a large tree, where birds will nest in its branches.
In this first comparison (Luke 13:18-19), the kingdom is very small. It grows after it is planted and after it dies in the ground. These two facts are not just the truth of agriculture. They are the truths of the kingdom. Churches have to be planted in a community soil. People have to sacrifice by death in order for the church to grow. After the church is planted and its people die to the way they used to live, God will resurrect the church to have more influence. The size of the tree is not as important as its potential purpose. Any church will grow dramatically – just as a seed grows into a tree. The fact is that as the church dies to itself, God will raise the seed into a tree. A seed can’t do anything by itself. All it can do is be planted. A tree however, can provide fruit, shade, and shelter. By itself, a church can do nothing for its community. With Christ, the church can be a source of community for the people it serves.
In the second comparison (Luke 13:20-21), the yeast (which represents the kingdom of God in this parable) will grow influence as it is mixed with flour. As the church mixes with people, as it goes out to the community, the church can have a strong influence. It spreads throughout community, changing it. Just as the yeast changes the flour, the church changes the community everywhere it touches.
Prayer: God, I look to You to help me be an influence for others. I ask for Your help to grow Your kingdom. I look forward to the dramatic growth of Your kingdom.