Here we are in Day 4 of my #DailyMark journey. I’ve written about the first parable in Mark 4 before (see #DailyMatthew 13), and even though it has captured my attention again, I am also drawn to the two “the kingdom of God is like” parables in this chapter (4:26-29 and 4:30-32).
In a sense, the kingdom of God is simply a term to describe the work that God did among the people then and does among people today. Every “kingdom”, whether physical, spiritual or both (the kingdom of God is both), has its own characteristics. Think of any political kingdom in history; each one has it own values, culture, etc. The kingdom of God is marked by the characteristics of God: restoration, wholeness, peace, justice, morality, etc.
What strikes me about both kingdom parables in this chapter is that the kingdom is not created or sustained by human power or ingenuity. In fact, the opposite is often true; humans have a tendency to fight the kingdom and kingdom values.
What we see, though, is that God continues to grow the kingdom, regardless of the opposition (whether physical, spiritual, or both). Both agricultural examples that Jesus uses are remind us that, though we can influence our experience of kingdom (either positively or negatively), we can neither generate nor stop it ourselves.
So what does this ancient parable mean for you and me today? I think it means at least three things: 1) I need to know what the characteristics of God are, 2) I need to recognize God’s activity around me that reflects his characteristics, and 3) I need to align my life and leadership accordingly so that I strengthen the kingdom rather than fight against it.
What do the parables mean for you?