Day 18

Advancing the Kingdom

from the reading plan

Matthew 13:1-23, Matthew 13:31-32, Matthew 28:16-20, Ephesians 4:4-14, James 5:7-8, 1 Peter 2:11-12

Our King calls us to share in His kingdom work and participate in its growth.

For the longest time, I understood the parable of the mustard seed to be exclusively about faith. The only message I took to heart was the idea that even with faith the size of a mustard seed, I could move mountains.

Recently, however, I stumbled onto something that broadened my perspective on this earthy illustration used by Jesus, and suddenly, the eyes of my heart were turned outward. While the “faith = mustard seed” part of the equation is featured in Matthew 17:20, four chapters earlier Jesus issues a different comparison: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field” (Matthew 13:31).

The “mustard seed,” it turns out, is not just about my own life; it’s about God’s kingdom. I am one part of a larger mechanism: namely, the “one body” Paul alluded to in Ephesians 4:4. God calls us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19–20). He also calls us to wait patiently for the Lord’s coming (James 5:7), conducting ourselves as those who’ve been set apart to live differently within the broader culture (1Peter 2:9).

My faith, however small and susceptible to skepticism and occasional spiritual malaise, was not given to me solely to save my soul, and certainly not just to keep me feeling warm and fuzzy about myself. It may accomplish these things, but the faith I was granted has been intended since before the foundation of the world to play a role in the unfolding of God’s plan to redeem humankind (Ephesians 1:4–5).

I would do well to remember this passage, especially on days when I feel ill-equipped or underqualified to make any meaningful impact on the world. When I think of the kingdom as something that starts small but grows into something significant, I am reinvigorated with hope that I don’t have to have a bunch of advanced degrees, I don’t need to be a published author or a sought-after public speaker, and I don’t have to become an icon of Christian culture in order to play a meaningful role in God’s work. I just need to tend faithfully to the “plot of land,” however small, God has bequeathed to me and watch as He, the Master Gardener, brings to fruit all He has ordained for my life as His son.

So, if you don’t consider yourself remarkable enough, if you deem yourself to be a person of little consequence with no idea of how to go about using your modest faith to help grow God’s agenda—remember Matthew 13:31. It turns out, we don’t have to be born with an iron plow in our hands in order to be worthy participants in God’s sowing and subsequent harvest. Whatever little faith we have is all we need to be significant contributors to the advancement of God’s kingdom. Even I, as simple as I am, can participate in the flourishing of the garden God is actively restoring. Even a small deposit of faith can generate growth for the kingdom.

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One thought on "Advancing the Kingdom"

  1. Mark H. says:

    Alex, well said, well done. Certainly a message that strengthens our faith and walk into the day.

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