Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.
In Matthew 13, Jesus uses stories and metaphors to explain the kingdom of heaven. He doesn’t tell us where God’s kingdom is or how to find it, he doesn’t explain how to become a citizen or tell us what the laws are or how to vote.
So what does Jesus tell us in his stories? I think he tells us to understand the kingdom of heaven by participating in it, not by defining it.
Much religion in Jesus’ time and in ours is concerned with defining things. What are the right beliefs? If you have the wrong beliefs, will God let you into heaven?
This is right-brain thinking like my GPS unit does when I drive to Calgary. It computes the route and says, “You will arrive in 2 hours and 59 minutes.” But the unit doesn’t know I need a mid-trip bio break, complete with coffee and Pringles.
Jesus doesn’t provide a GPS-type map of the kingdom of God. Instead he tells us that God’s kingdom is hidden, and that God works in mysterious and circuitous ways. His processes are organic, not linear; the results are relationships not products.
Here are three stories Jesus told to draw us into the kingdom of God.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is like a man who plants corn. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces corn – first the stalk, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. As soon as the corn is ripe, he harvests it” (Mark 4:26-29).
Again Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it he sold all he had and bought that field” (Mat. 13:44).
And again, “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he sold everything he had and bought it” (Mat. 13:45).
The stories are simple, the pictures vivid. But what do they mean? I think Jesus is inviting us to reflect on life-long issues like these:
– The farmer planted his fields, then spent the summer doing absolutely nothing while the corn grew to a harvest. That’s not how many pastors tell people to live the Christian life. They say God’s kingdom will grow in your life if you attend church and pray and give money and get involved in church programs. Why aren’t their stories like Jesus’ story?
– The man who found the best pearl ever and the one who found treasure in a field sold everything to acquire it. I certainly haven’t sold everything I own to get a piece of God’s kingdom. In what way does Jesus want me to sell everything?
Our father, thank you that your kingdom is not just another human project we schedule and manage and implement. It grows organically while we sit and watch. Grow your kingdom in our hearts and lives, in our churches, in our world.
We thank you for the great value of your kingdom. We look for hidden treasure in the lottery and antique shops and attics filled with junk. Show us your hidden kingdom, God, and help us to sell all we have to buy it.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.