“So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.”
Our text today mentions how God is responsible for the mysterious growth of a farmer’s crops. Even more mysterious is the growth of Christ’s body and bride, the church. The church is variously described in the Bible. Paul likens it to a farmer’s field or a vineyard that continues to produce fruit (1 Corinthians 3:6-9). Elsewhere it is called a building that is still under construction (1 Corinthians 3:9). The apostle Peter referred to believers as “living stones” who are placed together by Jesus to form a spiritual house, a holy habitation of God in the Spirit (2 Peter 2:5; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:20-22). In all these examples, the church is seen as something that continues to grow as souls are continually added to it. This is as mysterious as it is wonderful, mysterious because the true church of Jesus Christ has always been a persecuted minority. The Lord Himself was so hated and despised by the powers that be that they engineered His judicial murder. The Lord warned all those who would follow Him, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you . . .” (John 15:18-20). This sounds nothing like today’s modern church growth strategies. One would think that the Christian’s guaranteed unpopularity, if not downright persecution, would serve to repel rather than draw people into the fold. Nevertheless, God continues to give the increase. This is reminiscent of the days of David, the hunted fugitive whose life was continually in danger. Nevertheless, we are told that, “every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men” (1Samuel 22:2). In the most difficult and perilous times of his life, David’s community suddenly and inexplicably grew (1 Samuel 23:13). “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,” invited the Savior, “and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). The mysterious growth of our own local assembly, even in our most difficult times, gives evidence to the fact that people are still responding to the Savior’s call. May we rejoice together in God’s presence among us and in His guiding, superintending care.