It’s Up to God

You don’t light a lamp and put it under a clay pot or under a bed. Don’t you put a lamp on a lampstand? There is nothing hidden that will not be made public. There is no secret that will not be well known. If you have ears, pay attention!

Listen carefully to what you hear! The way you treat others will be the way you will be treated—and even worse. Everyone who has something will be given more. But people who don’t have anything will lose what little they have.

Again Jesus said:

God’s kingdom is like what happens when a farmer scatters seed in a field. The farmer sleeps at night and is up and around during the day. Yet the seeds keep sprouting and growing, and he doesn’t understand how. It is the ground that makes the seeds sprout and grow into plants that produce grain. Then when harvest season comes and the grain is ripe, the farmer cuts it with a sickle. (Mark 4:21-29)

God’s kingdom is obvious and inevitable. Jesus had been teaching crowds using parables. At the end of a long day, while Jesus was alone with his disciples, they asked him about them. He explained that although most of the people in the crowds didn’t understand about the kingdom, he did not intend for the good news to remain hidden. Instead, the kingdom of God was like a lamp that would bring light to all of them, everywhere.

Jesus warned his disciples to consider very carefully what they were hearing from him. They might gain insight from his words, or they might become even more confused. For a time, all the disciples were mostly confused about what Jesus was actually saying and doing. But only one of them, Judas, would never understand and would finally lose everything. Even the little he gained from his time with Jesus was taken from him in the end.

And so, what is the kingdom of God like? Jesus said that it grows all by itself in our hearts. We don’t have to be anxious about it. We don’t have to exercise to make it happen. It just grows, like the grain in a farmer’s field. He plants it, but he doesn’t send the rain, bring the sun, or make it sprout. Likewise, we will become what we are by God’s power and do what he intends.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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