Friday, 21 August 2009

An antidote to discouragement

I wonder if I've ever really taken to heart the parable of the mustard seed - what a slow lesson it is to learn!

In Christian ministry, we'd love to see heaven ripped open, the Holy Spirit descending with power, and spiritual blessing being poured out in great floods. We'd love to see "a nation born in a day", or at least homes and neighbourhoods transformed preferably before we have to buy another calendar.

Such things, though, whilst something very right to pray for, are seen and experienced only by a very few privileged servants.

God's normal way is the parable of the growing seed, and of the mustard seed (Mark 4:26-32). The beginnings are small; it seems unlikely to come to much. But it will; it is the nature of God's word, when preached in God's way, to bring forth God's harvest, even though we don't really know how it works. If planted in good soil, the fruit will and must come - and at last, the birds of the air will be able to come and shelter under the shade of the resulting tree.

So, preach the word, in season and out of season. Whatever you see, whatever you don't see - God knows what he's doing. If we live in the year 2009 this actually requires far less faith than the disciples hearing it for the first time a couple of millennia ago. The flow of history over the last 2000 years shows that Jesus' words were not empty. The tree has grown and given shade all round the world, and whole continents have enjoyed benefits from it for centuries. Sow the word, and water it - and God will give the increase, even though we it doesn't seem to grow as we watch it, and we don't know how it works. We must just get to work, and trust the results to the sovereign God!

1 comment:

Chad said...

An encouraging reminder brother! We sow, another waters, but it is God who brings forth the increase. And His providential, salvific purposes (increases) will happen according to His appointed times. So, let these truths encourage us to preach in season and out of season. And above all, let us continue to trust Christ, who said that He will build His church!!!