Seeds are fascinating little things, aren’t they? I love that Jesus chose one – the mustard seed – to talk about the characteristics of his Kingdom. The mustard seed is invasive, and every gardener I’ve ever known is pretty much in dread of an invasive plant getting out of control in their garden. I once decided to let oregano go to seed in my garden in Illinois. Wow! It went everywhere; just took over and popped up in all kinds of places!
Scot McKnight has a new book out titled Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. And just about any book he’s written is one I’m interested in reading. So, at about seven chapters in, I couldn’t stop myself from using a post-it note to mark a spot that reads, “Kingdom is people; church is people. A people under King Jesus begins to live into an alternative society that witnesses both to and against the world’s system.” McKnight goes on to point out that so many in our world today are marked by isolation, fragmentation, consumerism, power and a host of idolatries. He says, “The church…counters each of these stories with the story of new creation…”
As Pastor Rob pointed out this past Sunday, “We have a growing sense that culture is moving away from Christianity…but we still have personal influence.” That’s what living into an ‘alternative society’ is all about. “You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,” Jesus said (John 15:19). The Apostle Paul echoed the sentiment when he said, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does” (2 Cor. 10:3).
Seeds are amazing creations, full of potential to feed us, clothe us, and beautify our world, depending on their kind. But when it’s a mustard seed of faith, it has within its depth the power to transform us – and the world around. The littlest seed “becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade” (Mark 4:32). That’s us – the kingdom of God, the church – the hope of the world!