Friday, January 31, 2014

Small Steps

Small steps.  Small steps.  These two words keep resonating within me.  I am not one who likes to take small steps.  I want leaps and I want big.  Are you like me? I think most people in our culture desire for whatever they put their hands to to be a huge success …from the beginning. 

I have been thinking about and praying for God’s kingdom to come.  I want to see something big happen quickly, like an explosion.

We want explosions.

This is the American way.  But is it the kingdom way?

Did Jesus come into the spotlight with a grand entrance, great fanfare and bright lights?

No.  His first step, his first miracle, was quiet and only noticed by a few.  It was at a wedding in a small village, Cana, where he did as his mother requested and he turned water into wine.  The guests, the bride, the groom, and the happy couple’s families did not even know Jesus had performed this feat.  Only the servants, who drew the water, and Jesus' friends witnessed the miracle.  No recognition.  No grand plan.  No explosion.  It was just a small step with great significance.

Do you remember the young boy who had five loaves and two fish?  He took a small step when he offered his meager lunch to Jesus, who was looking to feed 5,000 men and their families.  This small gesture was a catalyst for a great expansion.  After the food was offered, it had to be distributed and this required more small steps and time to pass the food around the multitude of hungry people.  There was not a poof, an explosion, or voila and everyone had a heaping plate of food.  No, it was slow going, but it was expanding. 

Jesus compares his kingdom to many small objects; a pearl, yeast, a treasure in a field, and a mustard seed.

Let’s take a look at Matthew 13:31-32.

Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field.  It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”
Jesus tells us the kingdom of heaven begins as a tiny mustard seed.  It begins small.  But, it does not remain small; it grows.  As a matter of fact, it grows into the largest of garden plants. 
Do you know anything about the mustard tree?  You don’t?  Me neither.   What I do know though is just as with any seed that is planted the planter has little to do with its growth.  How does this apply to me, to you, to small steps?  God’s kingdom begins with the planting of a tiny seed and will grow quickly and without much cultivation.  I see what the word says and I am still left with questions.  If the kingdom can grow quickly, why doesn’t it appear that way to me?  How fast is quickly?  Does the kingdom need cultivating?  If so, what kind of cultivation?  These are questions I am left with, but despite lacking answers at this moment I am encouraged to know small steps will advance God’s kingdom.
May I encourage you? Learn to see him in the small so you won’t miss him in the explosion.  I know this is counterintuitive, but let’s consider an explosion.  Where does everyone look when an explosion occurs?  The fallout! The fire.  The debris flying through the air.  And in all the happenings, it can be difficult to see the source.  Let’s keep our eyes fixed on the source. Take the small steps.   Celebrate your small steps.  See God in your small steps.

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