Posted on: June 16th, 2024 by St. Stephens Downsview

As I reflect on my own Christian journey, and on the nature of the Christian journey more broadly, I am continually reminded of how closely our response to Jesus’s call mirrors Abraham’s response to God’s call in Genesis 12. God said to Abraham, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.”

Just as God called Abraham into an unimaginable future, our Christian journey begins with a call from God. Though the destination is unknown, the journey is marked by God’s assurance and promises. Abraham’s journey was one of faith, walking by faith and not by sight, trusting that God would fulfill His promises.

A Call and A Promise

Abraham’s call was not solely about him, but about God’s purposes for His kingdom. God promised to bless Abraham and make him a great nation, not for Abraham’s sake alone, but so that he could be a blessing to others. Similarly, our journey of faith is not only for ourselves but for God’s greater purposes. Abraham’s unknown destination underscores the necessity of trust in God’s promises.

In our faith journey, the greatness to which God calls us often begins with small acts of obedience and faith. Jesus teaches this through two parables about the kingdom of God. The first likens the kingdom to a man who scatters seed, which grows independently. This parable emphasizes that the growth of God’s kingdom does not depend on our power but on God’s inherent rhythm within creation.

The Seed and Its Growth

The growth of the kingdom is a divine process. We sow, but it is God who brings the harvest. This dependable rhythm in creation assures us that our efforts are part of something much greater, ultimately under God’s control.

In the second parable, Jesus compares the kingdom to a mustard seed – the smallest of all seeds – that grows into the largest of garden plants. This demonstrates that while the kingdom of God may start small, it grows beyond our imagination, providing rest for many. Our faithfulness in small things is crucial, as it is through such seemingly insignificant beginnings that God unfolds His kingdom.

God’s Unseen Hand

This pattern of small beginnings leading to grand outcomes is evident throughout the Bible. David, the youngest and most insignificant of Jesse’s sons, is chosen by God to establish His kingdom. Despite human opposition, God’s purpose prevails, manifesting His faithfulness in unexpected ways.

Similarly, Jesus, born in humble circumstances, was dismissed by many as the Messiah because of His modest origins. Yet, in Him, God’s promise of salvation becomes reality. This same pattern repeats in the lives of His disciples, many of whom were ordinary, uneducated fishermen. Their faithfulness and obedience, like the mustard seed, led to the growth of the kingdom, impacting generations.

Our Role in God’s Kingdom

Today, as we gather here at St. Stephen, we must ask ourselves if we recognize God’s work in our midst. Are we discerning His faithfulness over time, bringing His kingdom into being from humble beginnings?

St. Paul reminds us not to view others from a merely human perspective. We are all unfinished works of a loving and gracious God. The seed of God’s word planted in our hearts will bear fruit in its time.

Faith calls us to trust in God’s dependability to bring us exactly where we need to be. We may not understand when or how our prayers and efforts will bear fruit, but we can trust that God is faithful. He will complete the good work He has begun in us.

A New Creation in Christ

Paul proclaims, “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.” This transformation may not be immediately apparent to the natural eye, but it is real and instantaneous. Living in this new creation, we no longer live for ourselves but for Christ.

In Him, our lives, though they may begin like tiny mustard seeds, will grow to provide rest and refuge for many. Like Abraham, we are called to journey in faith, trusting in God to open up new futures before us.

May God grant us the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the strength and courage to trust in His faithfulness, following Him wherever He leads.