A man of folk-lore and legend in the Midwest is John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. During the 1800’s he wandered the country-side of large parts of Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia planting apple orchards…some of which still stand today. This American pioneer nurseryman spent his lifetime scattering seed in hopes of a harvest someday. In these verses, Jesus is likening the kingdom of God to the mystery of germination and growth and what man’s responsibility is in it all. We are told to plant or scatter seed…the Good News of the Gospel Message, and then to allow God to do the rest. For God’s kingdom grows in His time, in His way…always moving forward. So just like Johnny Appleseed, we are to be sowers of hope and leave the progress up to God.
Ok, I have two very diverse images I want you to think about today. The first is that God is limitless. Isaiah tells us that God sits enthroned above the circle of the earth and stretches out the heavens like a canopy… that His throne is heaven and His footstool is earth. (Isaiah 40:22 & 66:1) While the second image is of God’s very intimate and personal relationship with all Believers…of us actually becoming a dwelling place for His Spirit to live in. (Ephesians 2:22 & I Corinthians 3:16) To the world, this is a total contradiction…but to the Believer, it’s what our faith is built on.
Psalm 40:8 tells us, “I desire ( or choose) to do Your will O my God.” We even see Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane praying, “Yet not as I will (want), but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) When we seek God’s will… we desire that which pleases God and thus will create joy within us…for we will find ourselves in the center of His will…and it’s the very best place to be.
In Luke 11:1 it tells us that the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him to teach them how to pray. This verse is the start then of what we call The Lord’s Prayer….undoubtedly the most perfect prayer we could ever utter. The prayer starts off by firmly placing the focus God, our heavenly Father. Jeremiah 3:19 tells us that God wants us to call Him Father, but not like any earthly father…for we are to revere His authority and divinity in light of redemption.
To paraphrase Acts 26:18…We are to turn from spiritual darkness to the light of Jesus Christ… from the limited power of Satan to the infinite power of God, so that we may receive forgiveness of our sins and a place among fellow Believers who are sanctified by faith in Jesus. The Lord has snatched us from danger and set us free…the chains have been broken off and we are no longer a slave to sin and the jurisdiction of darkness…for the Kingdom of God is now residing within our hearts. (Luke 17:21)
Imagine it. Someday we too will join the countless throng in heaven. We will be shoulder to shoulder with people from every corner of the world…all from different races, languages, and customs. Yet we will have one thing in common…one thing that joins us together forever…one thing that wipes away every diversity. His name is Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
Jesus told His disciples in John 14:9, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.” He was trying to explain to them that He was the perfect expression and image of their heavenly Father. And even today, the notion of the Trinity…the Three in One…Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is a difficult concept to wrap our minds around. Each is a flawless part of the whole…each equally important…each deserving honor, glory, and praise.
It goes on to tell us in Psalm 36:5-6, “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, Your justice like the great deep.” I have the opportunity today to be “out in the middle of no where” in North Dakota. Sitting here looking at the massive expanse of horizon, it seems like you can see forever. But this vastness around me can in no way compare to the width and breadth of our Heavenly Father’s love for us. For His mercy for us is indefinite, brought into existence before the very beginning of time by the God of eternity…a ever-lasting and forever God.
Having a really bad day? Go outside then, take a deep breath, and look up into the sky. Now celebrate the fact that God’s majesty is on display just for you. Thank Him that He sought you out in your brokenness and worked a miracle in your life. Proclaim to Him again your trust in His son, Jesus Christ. Gaze up into the sky and recognize… that vast expanse above you can not start to contain God’s love for you.