Seeing the Seed Through the Dirt

These two truths are as true as true can be:  1.  God is King  2.  We are all living in His kingdom.  

What do you think about that?  Kind of hard to believe?  Certainly hard to see.  

That’s because, most of the time, God’s kingdom feels buried under a whole lot of dirt and mess.  There’s the dirt of cancer.  The dirt of job-loss.  The dirt of mounting bills.  There’s the dirt of family drama and friends who won’t talk to us.  There’s the dirt of death that buries the people we love.  

And with all the dirt of life, it can be hard to see God’s Kingdom and to believe that He is King.  

Jesus admits as much in Mark 4:26-34.  In those verses Jesus compares His Kingdom to a tiny little mustard seed that’s been planted in the dirt.  When that seed is sown it can’t be seen.  The dirt can, but the seed is hidden.  

And it’s the same with God’s Kingdom.  Our God and His work usually is hard to find underneath all the messes and dirt of life.  But, the Kingdom is here.  The King is here, and He is reigning and ruling.  

Amidst the cancer and the job-loss, the family drama and the bills, God’s Kingdom is there.  It’s there in a little piece of bread and a small cup of wine.  It’s there in a bowl full of water.  It’s right there in the promises He’s made, in the Good News we share around the table or at a bedside.  It’s there as His people pray for the sick, comfort the dying, and encourage the hurting.  

You see, God’s kingdom can’t always be seen.  At least not if we are looking for something big and bold and brash.  No, quite often God’s kingdom is covered in a whole lot of dirt.  Like when the King Himself came down from His throne into a dirty manger bed of hay.  Or, when the King laid down His life on a bloody cross.  

God’s Kingdom doesn’t look like we would expect it to, and Jesus doesn’t deny it.  But, He does have a glorious promise for us:  one day that little seed of a Kingdom will blossom and bloom and grow.  One day there will be no more messes.  No more dirt.  No more cancer or pain or sin.  One day all we’ll see is the Kingdom and none of the mess.

But, until then, we patiently trust that the Kingdom is here and that the King is still in charge.  Because He is.

Are you well rested?

Have you ever:

  • Needed a vacation after your vacation?
  • Felt guilty for taking a day to do nothing?
  • Felt busier on your day off then you do during the week, or feel busier in retirement than you ever did when you were working?
  • Woken up after 8 or 9 hours of sleep and still not felt rested?
  • Found yourself with a persistent and unshakeable exhaustion?

Well, then you might have a Sabbath problem.

You see, while God invites us into the work that He is doing, He also created us to find periods of rest.  Yes, we are called to share in His mission and work hard in His kingdom, but He also knows that we need to stop our working and rest in Him.

In fact, from the very beginning God has set aside one day of the week, often called the Sabbath Day, and tells us to quit our working and worrying.  God knows just how much we need this day.  Not only do our bodies need it, but also our souls.

The Sabbath Day is a day to pray and play.  It’s a day to stop talking and instead listen to God.  It’s a day to stop working and instead rest easy in God’s work.  It’s a day that re-orientates us to our Creator.  In some ways, it’s a humbling day.  On the Sabbath Day we are reminded that we are not as crucial as we think we are, and that God will get done His work even while we are sitting on the sidelines.

And so, even today, God wants us to take a Sabbath Day.  He wants us to pause and trust in His mighty works.  But, He also wants us to recognize where we find our true and lasting rest.  And that doesn’t come from a day, but from a person:  from Jesus.

The Sabbath Day, while good for us, also points us to Jesus where we find eternal rest.  It’s Jesus, and His work, which allows us to rest easy.  We don’t have to work to balance the scales of our mistakes – Jesus has taken care of that.  We don’t have to work to earn God’s love – it’s ours in Christ.  We don’t have to work to earn God’s favor – that is also ours on account of Christ.  We don’t have to worry about where we will spend eternity – because of Jesus we’ll be with Him.

All of us our tired.  At least most of the time.  There is so much to work and worry about.  But, in Jesus we find true rest for our souls – both here and now, but also for eternity.

So, take your Sabbath.  Let it recharge you.  Let it remind you that as important as you think you are, God is in control.  As you stop from your working, remember that God never does.

And then, remember where your eternal Sabbath rest comes from:  Jesus.

Spiritual Driving Lessons

We all needed to learn how to drive.  Some of us might be more “natural” at it than others, but there were still lessons to be learned.  Some, we learned from a book or class.  Others came through experience.

 

In Mark 2:13-17 Jesus gives us some spiritual driving lessons.  And as talented of a driver as you might think you are, or as spiritually good as you think you might be, these are lessons we all need.

First, Jesus reminds us that He doesn’t need any backseat drivers.  He doesn’t need us telling Him where He should go, how He should drive, or who He should pick up along the way.

In Jesus’ day, there was a group of religious people called the Pharisees who were awfully good at giving backseat directions.  They thought they knew how Jesus should live.  And one day, when they find Jesus eating with SINNERS – they think they know better.  This isn’t right, they believe.  These people aren’t worthy, they think.  But, Jesus doesn’t need backseat drivers.  He knows who He came for and who He wants to love.  Jesus came for the people we would least expect.  He came to love the unlovable and save the unsavable. He came to rescue the ones who have been forgotten, left out, and denied.

Second, Jesus reminds us to check our blind-spots.  Jesus tells us that “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick.  I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners”.  Check your blind-spots, Jesus is saying.  Do you think you have it all together?  Do you think you are doing ok on your own?  Do you believe that you don’t need any saving?  Well, then there are some spiritual blind-spots in your life that need to be recognized.  Jesus came for people who recognize their weakness, who admit their failures, and who confess that they have sinned.

Third, Jesus reminds us to follow Him.  Don’t think you can make it without Him.  Don’t look for any short-cuts.  Don’t try to blaze your own trail.  Just follow Jesus.  As He suffered, sacrificed, and serve, so should you.  Following Jesus won’t always be easy, but it will take you all the way to eternity.  Fix your eyes on Him and His cross, and He will lead you to where you need to go.  Believe in His cross, trust in His promises, cling to His Word, and you will end up right where He wants you:  with Him, forever.