June 17, 2012
Proper 6 –
Blessed Lord, since You have caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning, grant that we may so hear them, read, mark learn and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When there is life there is growth. Even after physical growth stops, human beings need to keep on growing intellectually and in other ways. Growth is necessary to experience life at its fullest. Growth is always a feature of God’s kingdom and specifically of the Word of the kingdom. The parables in Mark 4, beginning with the parable of the sower, focus on God’s Word. The text points out that the Word of God Grows.
I. The Word grows gradually.
A. As the seed is sown.
1. Both pastors and lay Christians sow the seed of the Word.
2. The sowing goes on wherever God’s Word is proclaimed, preached, taught and shared. Gradual sowing is necessary for gradual growth.
B. As the plant develops.
1. We can prepare the ground and nurture the plant but the seed grows of itself, mysteriously.
2. We may sometimes get discouraged because the growth is so gradual, but growth there will be present. Therefore, we can relax and let the Word work according to its own schedule.
Transition: While learning to be patient with growth that is gradual, we must also face up to the fact that.
II. The Word grows inconspicuously.
A. The Word is as inconspicuous as a mustard seed in the beginning stages of its growth.
1. The great and the powerful in Christ’s day gave little notice to the Word growing in their midst.
2. Those who wield power and influence in the world today are indifferent for the most part to the growth of the Word.
B. So inconspicuous is the Word’s growth that we are often not aware of anything taking place.
1. The sinners with whom Christ associated and the disciples whom He called often gave little evidence of spiritual growth.
2. We cannot see faith, nor do we always see the various stages of growth. Conversions are not necessarily spectacular, nor do we always perceive growth in love and patience in ourselves and in others.
Transition: At the same time, there is evidence of rather impressive growth.
III. The Word grows impressively.
A. The Word that was sown in a little corner of the world has spread to many nations.
1. The Word has produced a great bush with large branches in which all sorts of people find refuge and rest.
2. The worldwide church attest to the growth power of the Word.
B. The Word will continue to grow until it produces a harvest.
1. We shall see this harvest on the Last Great Day.
2. Then there will be a great gathering of ripened grain, of redeemed souls, for the heavenly garner.
We need never discount the power of God’s Word. The Word of God grows gradually and inconspicuously, but also impressively.
Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things
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