The Gospel according to Luke (13:18-21)
Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like?
To what can I compare it?
It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden.
When it was fully grown, it became a large bush
and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.”
Again he said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?
It is like yeast that a woman took
and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour
until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”
Opening Prayer: Loving Lord, help me to be an instrument of Your Kingdom, sharing Your love with all whom I meet. Help me to remember that no matter what I do, You love and call me to walk closer each day with You. Amen.
When I was in my twenties, I was an avid runner. I ran 10K races often, and loved the serenity I found in running. Los Angeles hosted its first marathon race one summer, and I wanted to challenge myself and complete that distance (26.2 miles). I had run half-marathons before, but never the full distance. I began to prepare and gradually increased the longest runs so that I would feel more confident of being able to finish the race. I learned two lessons in that effort that are applicable to today’s Gospel: the power of faith, and the power of perseverance. I had to have faith that my body would hold up under that long run, and then, I had to spend many hours preparing, persevering, in order to reach the finish line.
Jesus uses two different illustrations about the Kingdom of God, and both speak to the power of faith. If we have but a small amount of faith, God can do amazing things through us. I have to admit, I’ve never even seen a mustard seed, but to think of something as tiny as a seed resulting in a plant so large that birds can build nests in its branches shows how powerful our faith can be. We have to believe that the God we pray to is able to do what we need, and so much more. If we believe, God will deliver.
The second image Jesus uses is that of yeast. Without yeast, bread would just be as flat as a pancake. It gives an airiness to the bread, and causes it to rise. Our faith can be like that, too. If we focus too much on ourselves, our faith just does not have the same ability to affect us (or those around us). But, with faith, our hearts rise, and God’s Spirit is able to speak to us, and to work through us. We have to cooperate with that faith, as well. God won’t make us do anything. But, He will help us to do amazing things for the kingdom, if we trust Him and take that first step.
We do have to persevere, though. God does not promise that the way of faith is easy. It will challenge us every day in new and different ways. God *does* promise that He will be with us, and that His Holy Spirit will be within us as we walk on that journey of faith. Our part is to trust that the way is the one that God Himself has ordained for us, and to follow Him wherever it leads. It may lead us through a dark valley at times, but we keep on, knowing that our ultimate destination is that eternal Kingdom with Jesus forever. Let us keep close to Jesus and have faith that He will bless all we do for that Kingdom.
Closing Prayer: Lord, like a runner, help me to prepare for the race, and then to run it with faith and perseverance, knowing that You are there with me, every step of the way! Amen.
Action for the Day: Ask God today, “how can I increase my faith?” Then, listen for His word and trust in what He tells you.