Advancing the Kingdom
Open Your Bible
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.
Jesus’s parables are diverse in length and content. Some last for several paragraphs; others are mere one-liners. Whatever the length or topic, He used the metaphors of each parable to drive home the truth of God’s Word. Today’s reading includes one of those shorter word pictures used to describe God’s kingdom.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field” (Matthew 13:31). Throughout the Gospels, Jesus constantly shows us what His kingdom looks like and what it doesn’t. The upside-down kingdom functions in ways that are uncharacteristic of this world. God’s kingdom is great and powerful, and we’d expect a more appropriately sized seed to represent it instead of the smallest of them all. Yet Jesus uses the imagery of the mustard seed to show us what His kingdom looks like. It starts small, Jesus says, but it continues to grow and grow.
Since the days of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19–20), God’s kingdom has expanded exponentially. Just as He charged Peter and company to make disciples, Jesus calls us to share in His kingdom work and participate in its growth. Kingdom work is not exclusive to those with official church titles; it is the privilege of all believers. What a diverse—unified, but diverse—group of people we are. We all have different gifts that God uses to promote growth and harmony in the Church body (Ephesians 4:16).
When we share the gifts that God has given us with each other and with the world, we allow His power to work in us, transforming all. It isn’t our efforts or inner genius that produce results. It is all God, working through us to share the good news of the kingdom in various ways, powered by His Spirit.
Kingdom work doesn’t equate to easy work. We are kingdom people, but our bodies and minds remain tethered to this earth. That means sin, with all its devastation and brokenness, is still present and active. In the midst of this brokenness God calls us to grow together and bring His example to the world (1Peter 2:11–12). No, kingdom work isn’t easy work. But as my boss often says, it is worth-it work.
What gifts has God given us? None are too small, none too insignificant—like the mustard seed. Let’s continue to ask the Lord for insight into how we can encourage and challenge each other as we grow and work together in His kingdom.