Daily Devotional: Time Alone With God

Daily Devotional: Time Alone With God

Time Alone With God by Phil Stout

Matthew 13:31-35

New International Version (NIV)

The Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Yeast
31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 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.”

33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[a] of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

34 Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35 So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”[

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Consider: These two very simple parables are set in the midst of Jesus’ other parables about the reign of God. And like so many of Jesus’ parables they begin with the phrase…

“The kingdom of heaven is like…” (13:31, 33)

Those aren’t throw-away words. Jesus wasn’t simply looking for a good introductory phrase like, “Once upon a time…” No, Jesus was teaching us about his kingdom—the one that he brought when he came to earth. The entirety of his teaching was focused on helping us see the meaning, the substance and the glory of this new kingdom. And he taught us to pray for its arrival today. And as he repeatedly taught us about this kingdom, he promised that if we would have ears to hear—if we would be submissive and teachable—we would understand and live in this new kingdom today (Matthew 13:9).

These particular parables—the mustard seed and the small measure of yeast—tell us some simple things that we would do well to remember. We live in a day when “big” is celebrated. Huge television networks crank out images from around the world for millions of people to see. Our governments, businesses and cities keep growing and expanding. We’re tempted to measure the worth of something by its size. We think that “big” is significant. “Big” will change the world.

And yet, Jesus talked about two very small things—a mustard seed and a pinch of yeast. In fact, he described the plan of God for the cosmos with these two images. This great present and coming kingdom looks so small at times. It would be possible to go about the duties of our lives and never even see the mustard seed in front of us. In fact, if it were on the kitchen counter, we might just brush it aside. It is possible to eat bread and never realize that a pinch of yeast changed the molecular make-up of that bread so that it looks, feels and tastes totally different than it would have without the yeast.

Yes, the kingdom of heaven is at work. Can you see it?

Pray: I’m reminded of a prayer we sing from time to time—“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see you.” Perhaps today we should pray, “Open the eyes and ears of my spirit, Lord. I want to see and participate in the work of your kingdom today.”

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