When Jesus announced the advent of the kingdom of God, it had the effect of putting up a sign in the window of the world saying, “Under New Management.”
The management of the world’s system works under the assumption: Production = Value. That system is still the standard today.
— A football player who doesn’t produce won’t be elected to the Pro Bowl. In fact, he might not be on a team.
— An Amazon worker gets three attempts to meet a minimum quota before they are released from their job.
— The extremely beautiful, intelligent, and strong are featured in the media. The rest of the population is left to observe the media.
With Jesus’ “Under New Management” system, people received their value because God loves them and values a relationship with them.
Insignificant and ordinary people are the building blocks of God’s New Management system.
A Mustard Seed Woman
The woman who had been crippled for 18 years (Luke 13.10-17) had little value to her society.
We can imagine her painful and tiresome walk to the synagogue each sabbath, where she expressed her devotion to God.
As a low-status person, she probably didn’t expect anything from Jesus on the day he called her into the midst of the congregation. Of all the people in the assembly, she was the one who received his attention.
After Jesus healed her, he told a parable.
— Luke 13.18-19 – He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it?
“It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
The woman was possibly the lowest status person in the synagogue that day. She was a mustard seed sized person in the Production = Value scheme.
It’s easy to walk past a mustard seed. They are very small and look like a grain of sand or dirt.
Still, Jesus taught that his kingdom would grow with “mustard seed” kind of persons to make a powerful impact in the world.
Let’s not forget that the woman was joined by fishermen, tax collectors, zealots, redeemed prostitutes and other who had been healed.
Application to Life Today
Paul understood Jesus’ Under New Management agenda. He knew that value in the kingdom is not based on what the world’s system values.
— 1 Corinthians 1.26-29 – Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,
So that no one might boast in the presence of God.
The people in Paul’s list are not worth much, according to the world’s standard of Production = Value.
Yet, they are both valuable and useful to God. Let’s apply the parable and Paul’s message to our lives.
(1) We are valuable to God, even if we may feel like a failure by the world’s standards.
We are important to God and bring honor to his name.
When we are having a bad day, we need to remind ourselves of the value God places on us.
(2) God has honored us by asking us to work with him.
We may be “mustard seed” kinds of people, but God wants to influence many through our lives.
Jesus put it like this:
–– John 15.5 – I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
As we live in an abiding relationship with Jesus, we will make an impact among our friends, family, and co-workers.
— John 15.8 – My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
As we work hand-in-hand with Jesus, we will pull back the cover over God’s character and reveal it to a needy world. That is what “glorifying” God means.
A Mustard Seed Story
The great revivalist, Charles Finney, told the story of an invalid woman who was bed-fast in a rooming house.
Like a grain of mustard seed, she went unnoticed by her community until she was near death.
As her death approached, there was a steady stream of women who came to express their deep appreciation for this woman’s impact in their lives.
Each of the women had been incarcerated and this “mustard seed” lady prayed for them and corresponded with them while they were in prison.
Her prayers and letters pulled back the covers on the nature of God and revealed him to many grateful women.
Rudy Ross and I planned on covering two parables in today’s video. We began telling stories of God’s “mustard seed” work and only had time for this one.
I hope you enjoy our video. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
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