Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional thoughtfully penned by leaders in DUMC arising from their daily devotions. The devotional’s title, “Our Best Thought” is taken from the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” as a reference to God: “Thou my best thought, by day or by night.” Publishes on Sundays.
And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like ga grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
Earlier in Mark 4:14-20, Jesus taught the Parable of the Sower, where he referred the ‘seed’ as God’s word or the gospel, and the ‘sower’ as someone faithful in proclaiming the gospel. The farmer may sow the seed or water it, but only God can cause it to grow.
So here, while he sleeps and goes about his daily routine, the plant sprouts and bear fruit all by itself. As explained in the parable of the sower, God’s kingdom grows best on good soil, i.e. a heart that is humble and open to the Word of God. While most people expected God’s kingdom to come suddenly, Jesus teaches that his Messianic rule will begin almost discreetly (first the blade, then the ear) but will grow gradually in the hearts of men and women who are obedient to His teaching. The sickle and harvest refer to the final judgement when Jesus will judge from his Great White Throne to separate his faithful followers from those with unrepentant hearts.
The rule of God begins quietly (like a tiny mustard seed) in a repentant heart (good soil) but grow steadily into a remarkable contributor (6-20 feet tall mustard tree) to his or her community of influence (birds that nest in its shade).
Unlike the war in Ukraine where the aggressor invades without permission and destroys the country completely, God’s Kingdom comes only to those who invite him and slowly sanctifies them into Christlikeness.
It starts from hearing the word of God, understanding the truth, and obeying it through our daily living and being. God’s Kingdom is evident in the fruitfulness of our lives - governed by godly (not worldly) values and ordered according to His (not self-made) priorities. It is a life that is attractive to others because it reflects a sense of blessedness and God’s divine favor. It can’t help but beckon others to come and partake in its goodness, thereby multiplying itself over.
Father in Heaven,
Thank you so much for the seed that you have planted in this heart of mine. I now invite your Kingdom to fully invade my heart, my thoughts, and my actions. I ask that you tear down every wall of falsehood that I might have intentionally or unintentionally built around my life. Please break down every stronghold that is not pleasing to you and shoot down every impure desire or thought as soon as they lurk within me. As I surrender to you, help me to steward this life well so it will be fruitful in your eyes and an honourable blessing to those around me. Your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
To you be all glory.
In Jesus’ most precious name I pray, Amen.
Ding Ying is Zone Pastor Intern with PJ North 5.
Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional that follows DUMC's Bible Reading Plan. Posts on Sundays.