Friendship: Sowing Kingdom Seeds
There’s something appealing about movements. Women’s suffrage, civil rights, rock n’ roll, social media, even hipsters. Struggling to make our own mark on history, we all want to invest in ‘The Next Big Thing.’
Jesus’ ministry showed early signs of being a movement. But it soon became clear that his focus was on just a handful of unremarkable followers. Few among the crowds remained after feeding the five thousand.
To those who did, and do remain, Jesus says his movement ‘is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth’ (Mark 4:30). Unimpressive, to say the least.
While the kingdom will grow to be big, for now, it will appear small and unremarkable.
Most Christians would like to see a game changer, an unstoppable movement. When will the seed become the mighty oak it’s destined to be?
Have you ever seen a seed grow? I don’t mean, have you seen the result of a seed, having grown. I mean, have you actually observed it growing? Me neither.
I think one way God builds his kingdom is through the unobservable growth in relationships between people. Far from the glitz of the next big thing, mundane friendships are kingdom seeds.
When I was a teenager, I was amazed that an older friend was prepared to chat to me about my interests, and help me understand the Bible. For him, that ministry probably felt unremarkable - an apparently tiny investment.
He was doing what Paul did for Timothy; he was modelling Jesus through friendship. And in doing so he was “carrying on the work of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 16:10)
I wanted to follow my older friend’s example and, in turn, carry on his work. I invested in God’s Kingdom through this kind of friendship with others. It’s been unremarkable. Like a seed in the winter. You won’t read about it in any newspaper. Or on a blog post.
However, winter becomes summer. And seeds become trees.
If one person modelled Jesus through friendship to five others over five years, then, if those five do the same, in ten years you might have twenty-five. Let’s say those twenty-five also model to five over another five years. In fifteen years you’ve got one hundred and twenty-five.
Since those seemingly insignificant seeds were planted on Tuesday afternoons when I read the Bible with my friend, how many, along with me, have been kept for God’s kingdom?
And this, not by following the next big thing. But through God’s gift of friendship.
Unlike movements that have come and gone, investing in friendships can and will have an eternal impact. And that’s a movement I want to be part of.