Daily Update #203

Pause:  As we prepare to look at God’s Word let us quieten our minds, so that His Holy Spirit may speak to us today.

Readings:  Hebrews 8 : 6 – 13;  Psalm 85 : 7 – 13;  Mark 3 : 13 – 19
Jesus said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like.  A man scatters seed on the ground.  Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  All by itself the soil produces corn – first the stalk, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  As soon as the corn is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

One of our favourite programmes is the BBC’s “The Farmers’ Country Showdown”, shown in the afternoon, cup-of-tea time!  The programme follows the efforts of two farming families, usually one specializing in meat and meat products and the other in vegetables.  We see them at work on their farms, and then at their local Farmers’ Market, hoping to make a good living out of their endeavours.  It is heartening to see the support their efforts engender; indeed, most of them seem to be very well supported by their local community.

Jesus often used illustrations from the farming community of his day; it might be the parable of the 99 sheep or, as in our reading today, the efforts of a farmer sowing grain, trusting that he will eventually reap a harvest to enable him to feed his family and make some much-needed finance.  Of course, Jesus is using the analogy to teach about the kingdom of God, as the opening verse says.  In our morning services over the past few weeks we have been thinking about the Kingdom of God, looking at it from various angles, such as who is the King and what does it means for us today to be living in the Kingdom of God on earth.

What Jesus is teaching in this parable is a truth which should encourage each one of us as we seek to follow Jesus our Lord in our daily lives.  When the farmer sows the seed it is done with hope; there is little that he can do to ensure its germination and growth, other than weeding perhaps, maybe watering, but above all waiting for the miracle of growth to take place.  The Kingdom of God grows through the unseen work of the Holy Spirit, changing the hearts and minds of people so that they come to know the love of God for themselves.  As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago in my Reflection, we are all called to be witnesses to the love of God revealed in His son Jesus.  If we know Jesus as our own personal Saviour then we have a message which is well worth passing on, indeed it is a message which must be passed on.  We are not all evangelists, but as I wrote in that Reflection our smiles, our greetings, our small good deeds, being good neighbours, all of these things can convey the message of love, joy and peace that is ours through being part of God’s family, God’s Kingdom, here on earth. 

As I mentioned in the “Weekly News” on Wednesday I have re-started using the Daily Notes “Every Day With Jesus”, published by Waverley Abbey, which now have a new author and, as I also mentioned, are now distributed free.  The reason I mention them here is that Dr. Micha Jazz, the author, is challenging us to be “Ambassadors of Hope”, and hope is something that we, our families and friends, and indeed the world at large, is in need of in these troubled times.  As Christians our hope is not in something which might or might not happen, but is in the God who, as our Psalm set for today says, “promises peace to his people.”   As the writer of Hebrews puts it in Chapter 11 verse 1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  May each one of us be an Ambassador of Hope to encourage each other and those whom we long to see enter the Kingdom of our amazing God.

A prayer:May each one of us find in Christ Jesus, our risen Lord, a companion for our journey, a sure ground for our hopes, and the peace that passes all understanding.  Amen