Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.Matthew 13:31-32
And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.Mark 4:30-32
Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.Luke 13:18-19
As I mentioned in our previous devotional, Jesus does not establish and spread His kingdom the same way that men do.
In the parable of the seed growing itself, we saw the principle of how we should view this. The gospel minister does not fret over the details of what God is working in and with. The minister cannot help God, nor does God need His or anyone else’s help in His work.
Man, in his pride, may think that he is indispensable in the work of salvation and the kingdom. I will grant that God does use men to help and to teach the children of God. That is the primary purpose of church. But God does not use any means or instrumentalities of man to plant the seed of life in the heart of each of His elect.
That same pride of man that thinks God needs him to make children of God is the same pride that is the most common cause of war. Through the past 2,000 years, there have been various individuals, groups, and even nations that felt it was their duty to “Christianize” the heathen in different parts of the world. These efforts led to many mass slaughterings of those who would not confess to the doctrines of the oppressing party. In fact, many of those killed for refusing to bow down to the church/state order were actually children of God among anabaptists and other congregations of true believers!
The job of the preacher is simple. Preach the word. That is what God has instructed us to do. There are things that God does that we cannot control and should not attempt to coerce or affect. If people believe, it is because God has already put the kingdom within them. We can take no credit. If people do not believe, for whatever reason, it is not our job to pronounce judgment against them or to forcibly bring them into adherence. We are to just move on to the next place to preach.
How does God spread His kingdom? I don’t know. I just know that it is like the wind blowing and we can see and hear the effects (John 3). Those effects are because God has worked, and therein we should shout for joy!