Devotion by Kristen – 6/4/20
When I was in very little – probably five or younger, there was this giant oak tree in front of our church. One day, I had the best idea. I would collect acorns from church and I would plant them in our backyard so that we could have a forest in our backyard. Obviously, it would be the coolest backyard ever! Flash forward a bit and my dad was out in the backyard pulling a sapling out of the ground next to our house. Turns out you can’t just plant an oak tree wherever you want to. Something about roots and house foundations not mixing well…
Seeds are super interesting things. They’re so small, so unassuming, yet they don’t stay that way for long. Jesus said that is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like.
“He [Jesus] told them a parable: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed which a man planted which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches. He told them still another parable: The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.’ ” – Matthew 13:31-33
The older I get, the more overwhelmed by the world I feel. Poverty, racism, systemic injustice, diseases, mental illnesses, political divides, climate change. The brokenness seems so vast and so deep. And sometimes, the things that Jesus puts in front of me to do seem so small and unassuming and I question, “What’s the point of doing this? What’s this little thing going to do to help with all this stuff going on?” I want heaven to invade earth, and I want to see it in big flashy amazing ways and I totally forget that oftentimes, big things start as small things.
Sometimes the things of the Kingdom of Heaven seem so small and unassuming at first glance. Humbly putting someone else’s needs before my own. Praying for people that frustrate me. Checking in on the person that Jesus has laid on my heart. Getting to know my neighbor. Letting the Spirit uncover hard truths about the state of our world. Engaging in the uncomfortable conversation. Asking God to search my heart. Spending those minutes connecting with Jesus at the start of the day.
Often, I question if, in comparison to the things I see in the world, these small, unassuming things mean anything at all. But the truth is that God is able to take those small things and grow them into bigger things. Like a little bit of yeast that works itself through a large batch of flour and suddenly the whole loaf of bread rises, Jesus is able to take those small kingdom moments and work them through our hearts and transform whole lives and communities.
One day, heaven and earth will be totally reunited and we’ll all join the great multitude of people from every nation, tribe, and tongue and we’ll sing new songs to God and the lamb and there will be no more division or injustice, hunger, scorching heat, or pain, and God will wipe away every tear from all of our eyes. But in the meantime, let’s not miss what God is up to right now – those opportunities where the Kingdom of Heaven is breaking into earth. They may seem small at first, but who knows what those moments could grow into.
“The point is to transform earth with the power of heaven, starting with those parts of ‘earth’ which consist of the bodies, minds, hearts and lives of the followers of Jesus” – N.T. Wright
How is the Kingdom of Heaven breaking into your life today? What steps is Jesus putting before you today to be part of his kingdom coming?