Imagining the Kingdom

Today’s post is part of a series to help us take what we learn on Sunday into the rest of the week. These posts summarize the main points from the week’s sermon and include questions for continued reflection and prayer. The posts in this series are written by members of our church’s Adult Christian Formation team. This past Sunday our service theme was “The Lord is King.” Pastor Bobby preached from Isaiah 9:2-3, 6-7 and Mark 4:26-34 on how Jesus helps us to imagine what the kingdom of God is like by telling parables. In the parables about the kingdom of God being like a seed that grows, we learn that the kingdom comes inevitably. Like plant life on the earth, the kingdom is unstoppable. As a result, we can have courage and hope, investing in the inevitable growth of the kingdom. We can live now with the values we will have when the kingdom comes. If you’re investing your life in the kingdom of God, you’re not investing in nothing, even if it seems like it at first. At the same time, the kingdom comes gradually. The Bible consistently shows us images of God’s work being like the growth of plants. We need to develop patience as we wait for this growth. We can be patient with our friends who don’t know Jesus, as well as with the pace of change in our own hearts and church. The whole story of the Bible is about how God becomes king again through a gradual process like the growth of a mustard seed. God brings this kingdom in ironic ways that we might not expect. Questions for prayer and reflection:
  1. How would you would invest your emotions, time, and money if you already lived in God’s kingdom, if the kinds of values that Jesus embodied were fully present around us? What holds you back from that kind of investment now?
  2. Have you experienced a “return” on investing in God’s kingdom when you couldn’t have seen the outcome ahead of time?
  3. Are you investing in the life of someone who doesn’t yet know Jesus? How can you be patient about God’s work in them while also bringing God’s kingdom into their life?
  4. How has God been transforming your heart? Is there something God has done in you that you weren’t able to see until recently?
  5. Where in your life do you need courage and patient faith that God’s kingdom is inevitable even though it is gradual? Pray that God will give you the courage to follow Jesus in that area of life.