Hi everyone. Rob here.
It’s late winter. Most of the trees are still bare. The air still has a chill to it. The rain has kept coming down. It’s a great relief to see the sun this week! But the signs of spring are there. Daffodils have emerged. The early blossom is out. The days are longer and, when the sun emerges, it is stronger and warmer. But it’s still winter.
This is a picture of our world. When angry men march through a peaceful city carrying swastikas you know it’s still winter. When a man drives a van at high speed into men, women and children in the name of his religion you know it’s still winter. When fish are consuming plastic instead of plankton you know it’s still winter. But signs of new life are all around us. We just need eyes to see.
There is a different reality to the one we think we know. The true reality is that the future has invaded the present. The kingdom of God is among us, but like mustard seeds and yeast, it’s presence can be hard to detect. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:43-44,
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.
Jesus is talking about the state of our hearts but you could also apply this to businesses, churches, friendships or families. These things may look good on the outside but the fruit is rotten. The opposite also applies. On the surface things may look bad but what’s the fruit like? For some reason we’re still attracted to what looks good but,
People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)
We still get surprised when celebrity marriages fall over or famous pastors get caught in scandal. When we see through God’s eyes we learn to see the heart and the fruit that really matters.
When I think about the people who’ve really impacted me their common quality has been humility. They may or may not have had visible ministries but they all knew that outward appearance meant nothing and the life of God meant everything. From youth pastors to authors to mentors, those who had died to their ego bore the most fruit.
So when we’re looking for signs of God’s kingdom in the world, look for the humble heart. Look for the fruit that tastes of Jesus. Look for the sons and daughters who give honour to their Father and their brother Jesus. Look for the churches, businesses and friendships that share the same qualities. Look for the small mustard seeds that are changing the ecosystem. These are the people and the places where the new and good heart feels at home and comes alive.
There are saints in the slums and angels in the war zones. There are good hearts in governments and in your neighbourhood. There are scholars serving the sick and tradesmen educating the wise ones of this world. Jesus is with the homeless and the homemakers. The Spirit dwells among the cafe’s and the welfare queues. Winter may get the headlines but the signs of spring are still emerging. The kingdom of God is an unstoppable reality. We just need to learn to see it in the right places.
Grace and peace everyone.