Matthew – Fulfilled.
Are you that person who likes things in their right place, at least right for you? We just returned from a long journey to Oklahoma to South Carolina and back to Indiana. The laundry is sorted and in huge stacks on the floor. Bags of our stuff is piled in the kitchen and bedroom. Nothing is where it should be. Because of a the death of a loved one in Oklahoma, we left things undone here because we were in a hurry to leave. So the work for today is to put things back into place so that when we need them we know exactly where to find them. Then we will finally stop asking each other, “Where is…?” At least, that is the goal.
Jesus told stories to ready hearts of lost and confused people about the Kingdom of God. After the crowd leaves, the disciples, new to kingdom thinking, ask Jesus to go a little deeper in explaining the meaning of the stories, “What about those thistles?” Jesus has readied the hearts of His followers! Coincident? Hardly, for these disciples will soon be teaching others about the Kingdom of God thinking and behaving. Listen, really listen….
Matthew 13, The Message
The Curtain of History
36 Jesus dismissed the congregation and went into the house. His disciples came in and said, “Explain to us that story of the thistles in the field.”
37-39 So he explained. “The farmer who sows the pure seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the pure seeds are subjects of the kingdom, the thistles are subjects of the Devil, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, the curtain of history. The harvest hands are angels.
40-43 “The picture of thistles pulled up and burned is a scene from the final act. The Son of Man will send his angels, weed out the thistles from his kingdom, pitch them in the trash, and be done with them. They are going to complain to high heaven, but nobody is going to listen. At the same time, ripe, holy lives will mature and adorn the kingdom of their Father.
“Are you listening to this? Really listening?
44 “God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.
45-46 “Or, God’s kingdom is like a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent pearls. Finding one that is flawless, he immediately sells everything and buys it.
47-50 “Or, God’s kingdom is like a fishnet cast into the sea, catching all kinds of fish. When it is full, it is hauled onto the beach. The good fish are picked out and put in a tub; those unfit to eat are thrown away. That’s how it will be when the curtain comes down on history. The angels will come and cull the bad fish and throw them in the garbage. There will be a lot of desperate complaining, but it won’t do any good.”
51 Jesus asked, “Are you starting to get a handle on all this?”
They answered, “Yes.”
52 He said, “Then you see how every student well-trained in God’s kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it.”
What do we learn?
–Kingdom thinking is not worldview thinking.
–Kingdom thinking and behaving is worth giving up all you are and have to get it, understand it internally and live it externally!
–Kingdom thinking and behaving is beyond being impressed with Jesus, reading God’s Word and doing good. It is a way of life. Jesus modeled God’s Kingdom living perfectly. That’s who we follow.
–Know God, know His Story. Live in the flow and rhythm of His Kingdom of grace and mercy and we won’t have to ask, “Where is…?” We will know exactly where to put our hands on the right words at the right time in the right Spirit.
–Avoid, at all costs, being a thistle in God’s Kingdom.
–There is a day of separating the stinky fish from the good fish.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You take our thoughts deeper into what Your Kingdom is like each time we pray and read Your Word. I’m listening. Continue to speak to my heart all day long. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, help me to live Your Kingdom way. I don’t want to be a thistle!
In Jesus Name, Amen