Believe and Obey

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From Small Things, Great Results

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Disconnected Parables?

This week’s text is Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52.  This is yet another series of parables, not totally agricultural as in the past two weeks.  The series of parables seems to be disconnected and rather random.  One is the parable of the tiny mustard seed growing into a strong tree.  Another is yeast rising into bread.  Then Jesus launches into three quick parables.  He compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a treasure in a field, a pearl of great value and a catch of fish in nets.  These do seem to be unrelated, yet upon examination they do have a theme.

It Starts Small

The thing that unites these parables is that they all concern small things.  A tiny mustard seed, a small amount of yeast, a small thing of value buried in a field, a single small pearl, and a single fishing net.  By themselves they are small things.  In comparing the Kingdom of Heaven to such small, simple things Jesus is pointing us toward a faith that starts small and grows into something much larger.

The seed grows into a mighty tree, such as our faith grows into something that can withstand all that is thrown against it.  The yeast rises into something substantial, such as our faith can provide nourishment to ourselves and others.  Faith can be so “small” that someone gives up all they possess to obtain it.  The simple act of casting a single net can result in a large catch.  The point of all these parables is that our faith starts small, and grows and grows.  Even our evangelism starts simply (like casting a net), and produces many followers.  All our relationship to God starts small and grows.  None of this needs be a “big” thing or a dramatic thing.  Simple belief, and simple acceptance of God’s gifts of grace upon grace are all we need.  Then watch that small, simple thing grow.

Whatever Grows Will Be Harvested By God

The series of parables ends with a return to the point that Jesus made in last week’s text, that God will be the one to sort it out at the end of the age.  Ours is to simply recognize that great things start small, and we can begin with something small right now.  When it is all over, God will sort out everything.  Our role in all of this is to recognize the small, simple things that constitute our faith and to nurture those as best we can in ourselves and in others.  When it’s all done, we turn everything over to God, as it should be.  So grasp hold of the little things, the building blocks of our belief, then go out and obey.

Praise Be to God

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