Continuing our series on The Treasure in the Field, The Growth of the Kingdom
The parable of the Sower proclaims that with God’s kingdom, we may anticipate a harvest of 30-fold, 60-fold or even 100-fold! In Jesus’ day, an average yield would have been about 7-fold – so even when we only get a 30-fold harvest we are seeing amazing levels of fruit.
As Jesus moves from the parable of the Sower to the parables of the wheat and tares, and the mustard seed (in Matthew 13), the identity of the seed changes. Instead of the Word being sown, the seed is now “the sons of the kingdom” – lives in which the word is fleshed out in real people. And those people have a culture-transforming effect as they are planted in the world. But how does such a kingdom grow?
Not top down. This is not a revolution that changes society by force or military power. And not bottom up – for this is not a kingdom that is dependent on popular acclaim and consent, as the record of Jesus’ life clearly shows. It is hard for us to imagine a “kingdom” that is neither totalitarian or democratic. Not top down, and nor bottom up. So how does it grow?
The strategy is in-out. The seed of the Word takes root in people’s lives and irresistibly works its way out to transform all around, just as leaven works its way through the whole lump of dough. And from tiny, hidden beginnings, unimaginable growth takes place. The mustard seed: small beginnings and large conclusion. A kingdom that will grow to fill the earth.