Hi everyone. Rob here.
When I first started my pastoring job I remember saying to our elders that I wanted to change the world. You may as well dream big, right! I still have a deep desire to see the world changed but I have a new understanding of how this works now. We have a natural inclination that to achieve big goals you have to do big things or hold important positions. But there’s a reason why the saviour of the world came as a carpenters son and it’s found in words that Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God.
What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.
Again he asked, ‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.’
When the small details of our lives are given over to God’s kingdom we become greater reflections of God’s heart than if all our energies had gone into a great rally or project. When you look at the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 we see a list of rather mundane character traits that when taken together become revolutionary in our broken world.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
What we often see in our world and in ourselves is irritability, impatience, grumpiness, ethics of convenience and indulgence. These traits are survival strategies in lives that are uncentred, too busy and too distracted. In lives like that there is no overflow of love, no abundance of life. In lives that are deeply anchored in God’s love for us we see this overflow and abundance. Good character flows out into every aspect of life. We especially see this in how other people are treated. They are honoured as God’s special creation, deeply loved and worthy of emotional investment.
This world does take a lot from us and it is hard to maintain a deep well of life centred in God’s love revealed in Christ. So often we don’t realise that our souls are tired and we need a fresh awakening of God’s love for us. It is the little things that expose this. I become irritable and impatient when my well is dry. What about you? There will be something that shifts in the way you relate to people that exposes your need for God. It may be that you try and take instead of give, or withdraw instead of engage.
My son had a birthday party in the weekend. We’d had a hard week and withdrawal felt like a viable option. But I wanted to honour my son whom I love so I engaged. I played sport. I watched their tricks at the skatebowl. I laughed with them and helped them. My heart began to wake up as a result. Sometimes we need to withdraw so we can re-engage with energy and sometimes we need to engage so that our emotional withdrawal can end. Either way it involves paying attention to those everyday relationships, the small movements of the heart and coming alive to the Spirit’s work in us.
May we all invest in the mustard seeds of our lives. May the yeast of God’s love work its way into all our relationships and interactions. May we honour people even as we honour our own hearts. May the fruit of the Spirit of God flow into all our endeavours.
Grace and peace everyone.