Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Mystery and Industry of Kingdom growth

Mark 4:26-27 speaks of the mystery of growth in His Kingdom. "Jesus also said, 'The kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground.  Night and day while he's asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens."(vs 26) It's a MYSTERY.

This can be contrasted with another story Jesus told in Luke 13:6-9- the story of the barren fig tree.  There he tells of a man who planted a fig tree and came again and again to see if there was fruit or not.  When the master saw after several years that it was not fruitful he ordered it to be cut down.  The gardener however asks for another chance saying he will give it special attention and fertilizer.  Then if it doesn't bear fruit after that, it could be cut down. It is INDUSTRY.

Fruitfulness and growth- it is a mystery. Like the farmer in Mark, we don't know or understand how it happens- we just know all life comes from God.  Sometimes when we don't expect growth, it comes.  Sometimes when we feel we have done everything "right" we still see very little fruit for our labors.

I remember one time when I was planting tomatoes in my garden in India.  None of them were very fruitful.  Most of them died.  I guess I wasn't very skillful.  Or maybe it was God's fault? :)  But then one day I noticed a very healthy and producing tomato plant growing out of my compost pile!  What? With no effort, that seed had born fruit!  Mystery.  So should I give up on planting in gardens and working to get tomatoes?  Or was there something I could learn from this?

Holding these two truth's in tension is important in our lives as we partner with God in releasing supernatural increase. 
  • First, we know that God is the only one who can make ANYTHING grow or become abundantly fruitful. 
  • Second, we know that God has chosen to use farmers to plants seeds and chosen us, his children, to sow the gospel. 
  • We also know that while we can not take credit for the growth of the kingdom in anyone's life, it is a work of the Spirit of God, at the same time we can contribute to that growth when we are wise and skillful in our partnering with God in his work in their lives, in that people group, or city or region.

It would be foolish to say to a farmer it doesn't matter at all how skilled you are, what equipment you have, or how diligent and hard working you are- the crop is all and only 100% up to God.  No, that wouldn't make sense.  The farmers efforts, skills and knowledge make a very big difference in his success in getting big and profitable crops!  Though he can not control everything about the weather and some other natural factors...he does have the ability to influence many things and must be responsible to farm in a wise way.  In many ways, his work (though all life from the seed is a miracle from God) is predictable.  The right soil, the right conditions, a good seed, and he can expect good fruit. Likewise, the farmer's lack of skill, laziness or poor equipment can cost him a crop even if all the other conditions are close to perfect.  True?

In the same way, as we work in the Kingdom, what we do DOES matter. Our knowledge and skills and strategies make a difference in how fruitful we are.  To acknowledge that doesn't mean we are taking away glory from God at all!  No, only he gives life.  Only he sends rain.  Only he brings about transformation in lives.  Only He can convict of sin and bring someone to a place of repentance.

But we play a part.  An important part.  We are partners with Him in seeing His Kingdom come and in the release of Supenatural Increase and Harvest.  Let's be wise, skilled and well equipped, and industrious. At the same time, we trust and stand in awe of the Mystery of God who gives life to every seed we plant or water. He is truly the one who makes it grow.


  1. How grateful I am to be teamed up with people like you Cindy. In faith we press on together toward 10X increase in new disciples among unreached peoples!