While the news of the day is uncertain, and often frightening, it is important for Christians to remember that we are on the winning side in the battles of life.
When Jesus tells his Parables of the Seed and the Yeast (Matthew 13:31-35) he presents a picture of the kingdom of heaven that grows and dominates until it is the primary factor shaping the world. The tiny mustard seed morphs into a tree that provides a home for the birds, and the bit of yeast transforms the entire loaf until it is utterly and completely changed. And, it is important to note, these things happen rather automatically. The change takes place from within the seed, and from within the grain of yeast.
In other words, the kingdom of heaven has the winning power within itself, and invites us along on the journey.
We do not create the kingdom, but the kingdom creates us. Even though it appears to be insignificant at the start, the essence of greatness and the confidence of success lies within.
Scripture is filled with testimonies to this. One in particular from the Old Testament is the scene in Jeremiah 32 where the prophet buys a field. Normally this would seem like an ordinary transaction, just another day at the real estate office. But Jeremiah and the salesperson are both holed up inside the walls of Jerusalem, and the battering rams of Babylon’s armies are pounding the gates and walls to rubble. What is more, in the prolonged siege of Jerusalem the invading armies have killed and burned every living thing for miles, and made waste of whatever farmland there might have been in the region. Added to that is the sure promise of God, spoke through Jeremiah himself, that this time Babylon would be successful and the city, along with the Temple, would be destroyed.
If there was ever a bad time to invest in real estate, this was it.
The land itself was worthless, the currency inflated, the threat of destruction obvious and the future about as grim as any could be. Yet Jeremiah buys the field. Why? Because he knew the power of the seed of the kingdom of God. He knew that God would have his way, even beyond the threat of Babylon. He knew that in spite of the waywardness of the people, God’s kingdom would rise again and thrust itself to the heavens until even the Babylonian vulture would nest in its branches.
When we hear Jesus tell us about the kingdom of heaven we recover our sense of values and outcomes in the quagmire of daily events.
We carry the passport of heaven. We live as those who are under orders to be and do and make a difference. And we know who writes the last chapter, because the kingdom of heaven is growing tenaciously around us in spite of reports to the contrary.
Those who lead well, exude this confidence.
They are not ignorant about the threats of this world or the power of evil. Nor are they silly ostriches, blissfully hiding their heads in the sand in a deluded pretense that enemies will disappear if out of eyesight. Good leaders are wise to the wiles of this world, but carry within them the peaceful certainty that God is still on the throne.
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