The Scriptorium

Small to Great

It's what we might call Kingdom-think. Matthew 13.31-35

Matthew 13: Kingdom Extravaganza (4)

Pray Psalm 146.1, 2.
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the LORD;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Sing Psalm 146.1, 2, 10.
(Hallelujah! What a Savior!: Man of Sorrows)
Praise the Lord, my soul, give praise! While I live, His Name I’ll raise,
and exalt Him all my days – God forever reigns in Zion!

Read Matthew 13.1-35; meditate on verses 31-35.

1. What seems to be the focus of the two parables presented here?

2. Why did Jesus speak in parables?

A few years back a book entitled Good to Great was all the rage among certain leaders in ministry. It was chock full of ideas and examples for how to move your work – ministry in the case of those I knew who were reading it – from a state of merely good to one of truly great.

It’s good for us to think about life this way: How we can go from one state of being/existence/productivity to a higher one. We who are called to the Kingdom and glory of God (1 Thess. 2.12) should especially be inclined to think this way. As Jesus showed in the two parables in these verses, growth and impact are inherent qualities of the Kingdom of God. It starts small, but it grows to become a flourishing realm, attracting inhabitants from all around (vv. 31, 32). Certainly, that has been the case with the Kingdom of God. Jesus blazed the trail for the Kingdom, then poured it out into the world on the first Christian Pentecost. From those small beginnings in Acts the Kingdom has spread like a growing vine to every place on earth (Ps. 80), and it continues growing and expanding to this day.

Moreover, like leaven in dough, it works transforming power to make something which is rather blah into that which is wholesome and wonderful and good (v. 33). The Kingdom works by divine and supernatural power (1 Cor. 4.20) to bring holy qualities to the world – righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18). As the Spirit massages the Kingdom into our souls and, through us, into our Personal Mission Fields, the qualities of the Kingdom that are so attractive begin to be apparent, and many are drawn to it.

The Kingdom goes from small to great wherever it takes root. The world is the field for Kingdom sowing, growth, and fruitfulness, and we who force our way ever deeper into that Kingdom carry its transforming power into every relationship, role, and responsibility of our lives. We should expect, pray about, and work for the Kingdom to go from small and good to great wherever Jesus sends us.

Jesus taught in parables because they have power to stimulate our imaginations and excite us in our souls. The psalmist told us to expect One Who would teach this way (Ps. 78.2), and Jesus is that One.

1. What should it mean for the Kingdom to go from small to great in your life?

2. What are the most important things you can do to realize more of the Kingdom’s power and promise?

3. How have you experienced the transforming power of the Kingdom?

Thus he meant to set forth the most decisive sign of its greatness. “Even so then shall it also be with respect to the gospel,” he says. For his disciples were weakest of all and least of all. Nevertheless, because of the great power that was in them, it has grown and been unfolded in every part of the world. John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 46.2

Let the power of Your Kingdom increase in me today, Lord, as I…

Pray Psalm 146.5-10.
Commit your day to the Lord, and trust in Him to help you in seeking and advancing His Kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven.

Sing Psalm 146.5-10.
Psalm 146.5-10 (Hallelujah! What a Savior!: Man of Sorrows)
Blessed are they whose hope resides in the Lord, Christ at His side.
By Him heav’n and earth abide – God forever reigns in Zion!

He is faithful evermore; He gives justice to the poor,
feeds the hungry from His store – God forever reigns in Zion!

Jesus sets the pris’ner free, heals blind eyes that they may see,
lifts those burdened painfully – God forever reigns in Zion!

He the righteous loves the best; wand’rers in His grace are blessed.
Needy ones in Him find rest – God forever reigns in Zion!

But the wicked who defame His eternal blessèd Name,
them He brings to ruin and shame – God forever reigns in Zion!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore