TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING: Luke, Chapters 13 through 18
SCRIPTURE: Luke 13:18-19 Then He said, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 "It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches."
Mark 4:31-32 "It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; 32 "but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade."
OBSERVATION: When I read this passage today, I remembered that Mark gave one little piece of information that Luke didn’t. The phrase, “nest under its shade.” That’s one of the distinctive things about the kingdom of God. It starts small and then increases until birds can nest in it and even nest under its shade. This speaks to me of peace and rest. Those who come under the umbrella of the kingdom in general and the church in particular enjoy rest and shade. The kingdom increases until its influence can be found over every area of a community. The poor get ministered to, the marginalized are care for, the destitute find rest and care whenever the church begins to spread its branches. It doesn’t really matter the denomination. Some groups care for one area of need, while another group ministers to a different area of need. Since the Bible only recognizes one church, the effects of which spread like a great tree over an area, the kingdom of God is advanced and the name of God is glorified through the concerted efforts of all.
APPLICATION: One things this reminds me to do is to pray for all my brothers and sisters regardless of the church they attend. They may do things differently than I would but it is their love and prayers for a community along with mine that causes the branches of the tree to provide shade. I’m also reminded to be looking for need in my area of influence so I can be a part of the answer for some in any kind of trouble. God sees and hears the cry of the poor and lonely, the outcast and unfortunate, and “grows” His church like a tree to provide shelter. May I be sensitive to that need today.
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for the Kingdom! Thank You that it spreads its branches like a great tree over the weary and worn world. Today, help me to be part of the shade-giving church that provides peace and rest to hurting people. Thank You for Your love!