Wednesday, February 14, 2007



Here in Luke 13:18 Jesus turns their attention back to His most favorite subject—the kingdom. NOTE the two illustrations Jesus uses to describe the kingdom.

Then Jesus asked, "What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches."

The mustard seed is the smallest seed to be sown in the garden, yet when it grows it grows to the size of a tree. The tree is big enough and strong enough that birds are able to perch in its branches. So, the kingdom is like a mustard seed and once it is planted in the hearts of people, it has incredible growth. Incredible!

Again he asked, "What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough."

The second image Jesus uses is the yeast or leaven that is kneaded into the dough. When yeast is introduced into the dough, it permeates the entire lump of dough. You cannot extract the yeast back out again. In other words, this process is irreversible. And so, the kingdom of God, once introduced will continue to spread in such a way that it can’t be stopped. It’s irreversible!
This has a lot of implication to what we are doing. We are doing all we can do to walk with Jesus—to be stubborn followers of Jesus and His kingdom. Now, as we introduce people along our spiritual journey to Jesus and His kingdom principles, we participate in the planting and watering of the seed into the hearts and minds of people everywhere.

These two illustrations of the kingdom—the mustard seed and the yeast—give me great encouragement as we walk along in two ways:

FIRST—No matter how small the message of Jesus and His kingdom seem to be as we measure it through the responses from those who are listening, it will grow incredibly. So, be encouraged.

SECOND—No matter how little the beginning response is, the kingdom will spread in an irreversible way. So, you can count on it.

You know what both of these images say to me? The growth of the kingdom is inevitable, but it will take more time that I would like. It’s just like fruitfulness. There is no such thing as instant fruit. In God’s time the kingdom will blossom in such a way so that it cannot be stopped!

Not only does it take time, but this timing process serves another purpose. This timing gives me the time to focus on my own growth process. Over the years I’ve spent too much of my time and energy focusing on reaching out to others. What I’m realizing is that I must focus on reaching myself. Unless the Lord has my heart, I have nothing significant or life-giving to offer others.

Learn from my experience. Before heading out into your OUTREACH programs and strategies with your family and friends, make sure you are fully into INREACH—allowing Jesus to do His work in your life in His time.