The scripture that we use to support our fourth value of Transforming Community is about one of the key image that Jesus uses to teach us about the kingdom of God:
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.’Matthew 13:32
The kingdom of God that extends its protective and sustaining reach outwards so that the weakest and the smallest can find refuge there, begins with a small seed laid down. Recently, I looked up the size a mustard tree can grow to. A mustard seed is tiny but have you ever looked at the actual size of the tree it can grow into? A mustard tree can grow to twenty feet tall with a twenty-foot spread. Exceptional plants can reach thirty feet tall under ideal conditions. They have a spreading, multi-stemmed growth habit with a drooping or weeping branch structure.
I began to marvel at how many birds you could get perching in the branches of that twenty-foot spread. For us these ‘birds’ and other ‘wild animals’ are people who we get to influence with God’s love. Who would they be? What would their background be? How would Jesus use us to help transform them? What does that mean for me personally, if I am God’s hands and feet to these people? Am I truly captivated by Jesus? Am I letting all of me be transformed by Him? Am I seeing heaven when I open my curtains in the morning or just the same old day? Am I expectant of bringing Jesus to those I rub shoulders with day in and day out?
The kingdom of heaven has such an impact. From one tiny seed a huge tree grows. But it grows outwards and not just upwards. It has a spreading growth. It provides rest, food, shelter and, for some, even a home. We are entrusted with sharing God’s kingdom, such a powerful and precious gift. It truly transforms communities and our lives, words and deeds can become the branches and the leaves that reach people’s lives with love, as we are rooted in Jesus. We are given this gift to give to others.
Thank you Father that you entrust us with such a wonderful gift of your kingdom. Thank you that we can be your hands and feet. May we allow you to fully transform all of us. Help us Holy Spirit to daily see heaven. We want you to radically transform our community. Amen