[Jesus] also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 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 grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
Is the Word working?
The Word of God is certainly ink blotches laid down on a page. It is sound waves coming from ear buds or a voice. It is pixels on a screen of a device. Sometimes, though, God’s Word can seem like only that. At times, God’s Word may seem to be even less than that as it can look and sound like empty words.
Those Words may have seemed like mere words if we had been witnesses of Jesus’ ministry. His teaching made his own family think he was out of his mind. The Jewish religious elite thought he was demon-possessed. Was the Word working?
We also can find evidence of the Word seeming to be mere words in the present day. Though there are some churches which are large and attract many, there are many more which are small, seemingly insignificant, and on the verge of closing. Is the Word working? There are people who acknowledge the Word but live contrary to it. Is the Word working? What about in your own life? Have you seen a marked change in yourself from day to day?
In these two parables, however, Jesus helps us see what we cannot see with our eyes and hear what we cannot hear with our ears. Just as a seed is planted in the ground and we cannot see what is happing under the ground, so also is God’s Word. We cannot always see its power at work, yet it is at work to provide a rich harvest.
If we try to use our eyes and ears, the working of the Word might just look weak, insignificant, and ineffective—much like a small insignificant seed. But the Word has power to grow, much like that small seed grows into the mightiest of plants.
The Word of God is powerful, and it is at work among us today. It expands God’s kingdom around the world. It turns the rebellious into children of God. It renews you. It strengthens you. It is growing you into a mighty harvest which finally Jesus will come to gather to himself.
Dearest Jesus, give me eyes and ears of faith to trust that your Word is at work creating a harvest for you. Amen.
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