Today’s Reading: Matthew 13:47-14:12
The Bible tells us that we are to minister to one another and yet few are actively involved in local church ministry and yet they expect to be ministered to. There is little or no statistical difference between the way the average professing Christian lives and the way the average unbeliever lives. Both divorce at the same rate. Both cheat on their taxes at the same rate. Both attend clubs at similar rates. Why is that you ask? Well, as we look through these parables today we will discover that it is in part due to the fact that the kingdom is easy to overlook.
The net in the parable is a dragnet that would be drawn between two boats in a wide semicircle. The net would be easy to overlook because it does its work below the surface yet without it the fishermen would soon be out of business. The mustard seed is small as well as the amount of yeast.
An interesting cartoon shows a fourth-grade boy standing toe-to-toe and nose-to-nose with his teacher. Behind them stares a blackboard covered with math problems the boy hasn’t finished. With rare perception the boy says, “I’m not an underachiever, you’re an overexpecter!”
Many professing Christians are just like that little boy. They deny that they are underachievers in the faith while at the same time accusing God of being an overexpecter — of setting his expectations for them too high.
On a trip to Haiti, Dale A. Hays heard a Haitian pastor illustrate to his congregation the need for total commitment to Christ. A certain man wanted to sell his house for $2,000. Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn’t afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation — he would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door.
After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.
The Haitian pastor’s conclusion: “If we leave the Devil with even once small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ’s habitation.” We need to take the little thing seriously.