A Severe Kindness
Matthew 13:31,32 The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree…
Jesus here, provides me with a painful but much needed lesson. I have often failed to understand that my lack of faith is no one’s fault but my own. He has sown in me the seed of his kingdom and I whine at its lack of growth. I mourn the timid plant that I am when He has given to me the potential to be the tree. The failure of my growth is my failure to be grown, not his failure to grow me. He has given me the seed, the sun, and the water to explode into life, but I have, in my self-focus remained unwilling to mature.
As Christians, we believe that God first needed to work in us, but we make the mistake of thinking this means that God must do everything for us. We mistake faith for sitting on the couch and letting God do. We fail to understand that God has planted this seed and continues to grow it into a mighty tree only when we respond as He has called us to respond.
Faith is not sitting in the boat watching Jesus walk on water. Faith is following Jesus into the storm, walking with him on the water of life, doing whatever it takes to keep my eyes off self and on him alone.
My growth is my responsibility. This does not mean that God leaves me alone to do it. It means that He is constantly willing to work in me. He just longs for me to rise and follow. He often moves only as I move. He has sown the seed of his kingdom in me. The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21). It is my responsibility to choose growth by daily denying self and following him.
I have looked up to those trees around me, longing to be like them. I have seen the fruit they produce and wished that I too, was a tree. I have had to realize that one does not grow into a tree overnight. It is my desire for instant gratification that frustrates me when I see how slow growth can be. A trees growth is marked in years.
Jesus said I can be choked out by weeds or I can grow into a tree. He leaves the choice largely up to me, but it is a choice that I need to make daily for the rest of my life. I grow his kingdom in me only by denying self and following him daily.