It is Not the Size That Matters: It is the Size of the Heart That Matters

Posted: March 16, 2015 in Gospel of Luke

Luke 13:18-21 — Today’s passage is a short one, a small one. Jesus gives us two examples of what the kingdom of God is like. It is like a mustard seed, one of the tiniest of seeds known to man, and like yeast, that makes dough rise from something flat without to something puffy and fluffy with it. These are the dynamite in small packages parables.

What should we take from them? I think there are two things that we can take two things from this passage. The first thing is that bigger is not always better. The second thing is that we should never underestimate the impact that we, as Christ followers, can have on the world around us.

Bigger, better, faster, stronger. It is engrained in our culture’s pysche that bigger is better. Faster and stronger is better. However, when it comes the church Christ founded, this is not always true. In today’s world and even in the Christian world, we think bigger is better. Today is the world of the megachurch. Churches with 10,000 or with 20,000 regular attendees is considered the pinnacle of success for today’s Christian world. Traditional churches are dying by the thousands because they seem not to want to grow. Churches with 30-40 people on Sunday must not be doing something right when we compare them to these modern day megachurches. What are the megachurches doing right and, of course, because they are small, what are the small churches doing wrong. But is bigger really better?

Recently, when having a discussion with a friend about why his ministry was not growing and not taking off like he desired, he and I both came to the realization that I would rather have a handful of guys committed to what the ministry was about rather have ten times that yet all were lukewarm, uncommitted types. Jesus himself when speaking in the vision that the Holy Spirit gave the apostle John that we know as the book of Revelation said that He would vomit the lukewarm out of His mouth. Bigger is not always better. In most churches regardless of size, 20% of the church is truly on-fire for Christ and serve Him in every way possible and it is these 20% that become the leaders of the church. What of the remaining 80%? These are the consumers. These are the ones who do nothing but consume and never give. They give little of their time and even less of their resources. Often megachurches just have larger 20%’s and larger 80%’s. Would you not rather have a small church filled with Holy Spirit consumed Christ followers than a large church where it is difficult to get people to care beyond what you can do for them. I pray for a church where the 20% types are 100% of the church. Man, what Christ could do through that church. Bigger is not always better. Committed is better than bigger. A mustard seed is committed. It is a tiny little seed but it grows into one of the sturdiest shrubs or trees there is. A mustard tree is tough and hard to root out. Give me a church full of that kind of Christian. Give a church that is sturdy and capable where there is evidence that it existed. There are birds in its branches. There are people in the community whose lives have been changed, given shelter and growth in its branches. Give me a church full of zealous Christ followers that really do want see others come to salvation through meeting needs and through meeting people where they are at. Give me a church that cares about injustice and does something about it. Give me a church that stands on its biblical principles in a loving way but yet will not compromise or water down the gospel to make it palatable to its culture. Give me a church that in the end times, Jesus will commend for having been faithful servants.

The second thing that we as individual Christians often get discouraged because we are not saving the planet every minute. We get discouraged because we are not in Africa digging wells. We get discouraged because we are not ending sex trafficking here in the US and around the world. We are not fighting to spread the gospel in the gospel dark places of our own country and in the world. Sometimes are ministries as Christians are not over the top noticeable, big ministries. Sometimes we get discouraged by the lack of impact that we see from our individual Christian walks. Sometimes it may well be true that in some cases the discouragement comes from our own lack of commitment, our own lukewarmness. However, there are those are committed and willing to do anything, go anywhere for Jesus Christ but it seems the call to doing the big things never comes or even if we are doing what God called us to do we may get discouraged at whether we are making any impact at all. Jesus is giving those people encouragement here. Sometimes, it is in the small things that we do that we make the greatest impact.

It is like being a dad and you seem to be pounding your fist in the sand relentlessly for years to guide your children in the right way and you do it without fail for years and years because you love them. They don’t seem to appreciate but one day they come to you and say that it was your faithfulness to being a good, strict but loving dad that they are where they are today. Sometimes, we as Christ followers do not see the real impact that we are having. We do not see how many lives we are impacting by the little things we do to model the Christian life. Just because we do not get on TV does not mean we are not having an impact. Further, if the motivation is to get on TV then we got it all wrong to begin with. However, Jesus is saying here take heart it is the small things that you do to show the love of Christ that expands the kingdom.

There are more Christians that have come to Christ because of Christ follower who invested daily in their lives for years than have ever come to Christ by any single preacher. It is the committed Christ follower accountant, housewife, school teacher, IT technician, project manager, child care center manager, nurse, novelties salesman, production supervisor, vending company product stocker, or whatever you do for a living who invests in the lives of the people around them that produces the greatest fruit. We are all ministers. We are all missionaries where we live, work, and play. Do not be discouraged that you are not having an impact. Simply by being a caring, committed Christ follower you are having more impact than you know. There are birds in the branches of the kingdom mustard tree because of you.

Believe that. If you love Jesus with all your heart, it shows. It impacts. It brings people to the mustard tree and they find shelter in its branches.

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