When Jesus explains to people what the kingdom of God is like, he speaks of mustard seeds and yeast – small things which move and grow slowly into large impact. And he speaks of a narrow door, which most people prefer to not enter through…
18 Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? 19 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.”
20 Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? 21 It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’
26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”
There is a paradox in Jesus’ stories of the mustard seed-yeast, and the narrow door. Eternity in heaven is available to everyone who desires it, yet it starts small and spreads slowly, and most people will miss the movement. The old spiritual, People Get Ready, tells us there is a train coming, and we don’t need no ticket. We can’t pay for it. We just get on board….
Unless we don’t. Most don’t get on board. Faith is for the weak and the simple, right? For those who need a crutch. The mustard seed of the gospel grows and spreads slowly. It will blossom into a great tree for those who believe.
The paradox is that there will be a day in which those who don’t have time for the gospel, who believe it to be for the weak or the foolish, will come and knock on the door of the kingdom of God. There will be a point where they will realize what they missed, and on that day, when every eye is opened to see the kingdom of God for what it truly is, it will be too late to embrace that small, mustard seed movement.
The masses will gnash their teeth at what they missed, and the simple, humble, meek, who were often last in the economy of ideas and worldly superiority, will become first in the kingdom of heaven. Where will you be? On the outside looking in or on the inside full of faith? This isn’t fear-mongering.
This is an opportunity to reconsider God’s love for you and his offer of grace in Jesus.
Noah built the ark because he knew there was a rain coming. His neighbours didn’t understand (Matthew 24:37-39) what was coming – they knew nothing of it. And when the rain fell, they wished they were prepared. They perished in the flood.
The path to God’s rescue is a narrow path and door. The movement is small – mustard-seed-like – and many will miss it. Will you?