Scripture selection: Luke 13:18-22

Jesus asked, “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.”

What is unique about the kingdom – the reign – of God?

According to Jesus, one thing is how the kingdom influences all of life.

Some people like to think they are important and influential.  They go to a lot of trouble to maneuver themselves into positions of perceived power.

What is interesting about being a servant of God’s kingdom is that God’s influence permeates all of life in some very significant ways – ways that are at times not recognized by the world at all.

Like a tiny mustard seed that grows into a great tree; like a tiny bit of yeast that works its way through a batch of dough causing great change – so it is with God’s reign over the world.

Generals think it is all about who has the most formidable weapons.

Politicians think it is all about back room negotiations.

Others think money is what makes the world go around.

Jesus has another idea altogether.

Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, and always with surprising power – God works His miracles to accomplish His will.

And, should we choose to do so, we can be a part of that wonderful, miracle working, process – a little bit at a time.

Sounds pretty influential to me.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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