[reprinted November 16, 2009]
~ Henry Neufeld
18He said, â€œWhat is Godâ€™s kingdom like? To what can I compare it?â€ 19It is like a mustard seed which someone plants in his garden. It grew and became a tree and the birds in the sky came and perched on its branches. Â Â Luke 13:18-19 (HN)
We like to get things fast. We like to see the connections and to know just how we got whatever we got. This desire for â€œinstant gratificationâ€ is often an accusation of the older generation of the younger, or of our various preachers or moral leaders of this generation as opposed to all generations. But really, itâ€™s just a human thing. We all like it. I preach patience, but all too often I practice impatience. If I manage to appear patient, be assured that itâ€™s only by the grace of God! If I donâ€™t appear patient, well, Iâ€™m human.
I have even thought that Adam and Eve may have failed precisely on the point of timing. Many times we ask why God would make a perfect garden and yet place in it a tree that was poisonous not just to those who might eat it, but to all their descendants, to an entire species. But perhaps the tree represents something necessary, and that knowledge of good and evil was something that would have to come sometime, but in Godâ€™s timing. That would explain the tree being there, but being forbidden. Adam and Eve couldnâ€™t wait. I could be wrong on this, but itâ€™s intriguing.
But whether it started with Adam and Eve or not, it certainly is pervasive. Waiting, trusting, receiving without knowingâ€”all these things really get on our last nerve! But God tends to work with greater subtlety.
We encounter this problem in evangelism. Someone shares their faith with a friend or neighbor, and gets no response. What happens? They get impatient, even desperate. Who can I get to persuade them? Why are they so slow? Surely they understand the importance.
But God says that the kingdom works like a tiny seed. You plant it. It grows. It becomes something much more than you thought when you did the planting. But for many of us this isnâ€™t good enough. God should get in there and fix things now, while Iâ€™m watching. And somewhere in there we might even be thinking, â€œ. . . and I should get the credit.â€
Seed sowing is a principle of Godâ€™s kingdom. It means that God uses things that donâ€™t look like much to accomplish things that are really quite incredible. That means that we will often not be able to get the connections, see the work go on, or account for the credit due to the various workers involved.
The same is true in your own life. The gospel is trying to grow inside you and transform you. You may wish that you had patience right now, so that you could accept this sowing principle in your heart, but God is likely to grow you up slowly. God is not a God of instant gratification.
What seeds is God nurturing in your heart?
Though it tarries, wait for it!â€ Â Â Â Habakkuk 2:1 (HN)