Reflection - A Harvest for the Kingdom

18 June 2024

Reflection - A Harvest for the Kingdom Image

By Rev. Dr Clive W Ayre

I am sure you have noticed the seasonal changes a rural landscape can offer.  At planting time, the ground is prepared, and the seed is planted. The plants will be tended with care and soil nourishment considered. Then, with the right weather conditions comes the miracle of growth and, ultimately, the often-feverish activity of harvest. It's a cycle that has been repeated innumerable times throughout history. Even so, to reflect on that cycle can be helpful because there is a fascinating mystery involved.

Jesus used the image of the mustard seed and the amazing fact that from a tiny seed, something quite large and magnificent can grow. For those of us who may not see ourselves as people of great faith, the mustard seed of faith represents great hope. As we let ourselves become personally involved, it will lead to an investment of ideas and dreams. Some of our most familiar institutions began as an idea in someone's mind. We could mention the Flying Doctor Service, Lifeline, or other areas of life where someone saw a need and dared to begin to fill it.

At another level, we might hear echoes of that famous sermon of Martin Luther King Jr, 'I have a dream ....'  What a dream it was, and what an impact it had on racially divided America.  In the social issues we face today, we need people who have caught that kind of vision of the Kingdom of God and who have a dream of a more just and peaceful world. If we have a dream for our church and society and what, under God, we might become, then we are invited to invest it to sow the seed. It may or may not come to pass in the fullness of time. But if we are defeated before we even begin, the outcome is predictable.

Let's invest our money in the Kingdom of God. We're all reasonably familiar with that idea in the world of finance and business, and in our own money management, we seek reasonable returns on our investments. Similarly, our financial stewardship—our gift of money to God through the church—is an investment in the Kingdom of God and in values that cannot be measured by the world's scale.

As Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how”. There is a mystery about growth. How does a plant grow, or a child? How does a church grow? We are reminded of our helplessness; in spite of all our cleverness, we can discover things or rearrange them, but we can't create them because God retains the secret of life. Our task is to cooperate with God in that process of creation.

From a tiny seed, a mustard tree will grow, and eventually, birds will nest in its branches.  So also from a tiny seed of true faith, the church itself will grow and provide shelter and a home for a wide range of God's people. As the hymn writer put it, “See how great a flame aspires, kindled by a spark of grace”.

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