He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Do you remember the young man who stood in front of the column of tanks sent by the Chinese government to break up the pro-democracy protest in Tiananmen Square? It was 1989, and Communism was collapsing around the world. In Beijing, however, the military was ordered to quiet the voices calling for freedom by any means necessary. That’s when an unidentified young man, dressed in a white t-shirt, bravely stared down the tanks. His actions didn’t liberate the Chinese people from tyranny, nor did they prevent the military from clearing the square of protesters, but those few moments of courage, as one man stood up for freedom, gave hope to the watching world. Sometimes, small things can be powerful.
Jesus spoke often about the kingdom of heaven, the active reign of God in the lives of his followers. When we obey God and follow Jesus, we are living in the kingdom of heaven. When we take up our cross and love our neighbors and lay down our lives for our friends, we are living in the kingdom of heaven. In some ways, the kingdom feels like a vast realm of glory and power, with Almighty God seated on his majestic throne. In other ways, it seems like the darkness of this world shallows up every glimmer of God’s goodness. It may feel like our little acts of obedience to God just get swept away by the torrent of evil and sin.
Jesus knew otherwise. He knew that each little righteous deed and every loving word, each moment of courage and faithfulness, each spark of goodness in the kingdom of heaven, makes a difference. A little seed can grow into a huge tree. A pinch of yeast can work through the whole batch of dough. When you love your neighbor, each time you forgive, every word of encouragement, all your faithful prayers, any kindness you show to someone in need, every little act of Christ-like, God-honoring, Spirit-inspired goodness cuts through the darkness and expands the kingdom of heaven.
Thank You, God, for noticing each of the little ways I attempt to serve You and love those around me. Help me to obey Your word and follow the ways of Jesus, so I can help make Your world a little better each day. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian