Tuesday, April 27, 2010

THE PARABLE OF THE UNMERCIFUL SERVANT

Stanley paces around the compound of his house like a man going berserk. He knows this time the noose around his neck is being tightened, a situation so precarious that he is even thinking of committing suicide. The sum he borrowed has compounded and ballooned beyond his capability to settle.


The loan sharks had threatened his family incessantly even though several police reports were made. His younger sister, Wendy had pleaded with him to settle the loans as unending pressure upon them was at the breaking point. Red paints, embarrassing-worded signs and even Stanley's photos were used to intimidate his family.


He climbs the gates and quickly runs toward the back window. He whistles to his sister and slightly knocks on the panes. He sees one of the windows is open and takes a peek. To his utter surprise, he sees his dad chatting with his mom, both laughing. In fact, they are feasting on the table, happily chewing away. “Have they gone crazy or what?” he thinks to himself.


“Stanley!” a voice shouts from inside the house. "Dad, brother is back!" Wendy yells in delight. He climbs through the window and whispering to his sister to stop yelling. “Shhhh! You want your brother to die, do you?” Stanley holds her hands. “It’s okay already,” his dad speaks calmly, grinning from ear to ear. This adds to Stanley’s confusion. “What is happening?” he whispers again, looking outside the window. “Stanley, calm down!” his mom stands up and puts her hands on his face. “Your Uncle John had paid everything for you and settled the loan amount with those gangsters,” she speaks slowly, making sure he understands everything. “No…no way…Oh my God!” Stanley cannot believe his ears. “Ma, no way! Uncle John…Oh my God,” he adds, kneeling down. Uncle John is a distant relative whom Stanley doesn’t even know he has.


Stanley is in tears as each one takes turn to admonish him. “Call Uncle John right now and thank him, in words and deeds,” his dad speaks sternly. “And don’t you ever borrow again?”


Two years later…


“Stanley, now you are a real man,” the burly thug speaks proudly as Stanley returns another interest payment he borrowed from them. “Luckily the last time you have your Uncle to settle for you,” he continues, egging him on to borrow more. These loan sharks know about the golden goose in his Uncle John, as Stanley often boasted. They take advantage of his frequent visits to remisiers and his ambition for riches to press him to take a larger amount from them. “Take it. It’s all yours. Feel free to multiply it! Wish you good luck.”


Investment in stocks has become his priority as he was recently sacked from his job as a salesman. Money borrowed is being sprinkled heavily in various stocks, most of them without any thorough research but through hearsay.


“Hey you!” Stanley meets one of his former colleagues. He pushes Brandon to a corner and demands him to pay back what he has owed him. “Stan, I thought I told you to give me a couple of months more,” Brandon pleads. “No way! I have given you enough time,” Stanley presses him, knocks Brandon on his head. “I need the money, Brandon. I don’t care whether you steal from your dad or rob a bank, I want it tomorrow,” he angrily pressures his frightened debtor. Stanley needs to return some interests on his loan. Meanwhile, an older man rushes toward Brandon as he is being pushed backwards.


“Lay off my son, young man,” the man growls. His deep penetrating eyes lock on Stanley’s and the old man frightens him. “Okay! Good. You come at the right time,” Stanley retorts sheepishly. “Your Brandon owes me a thousand dollars,” he continues, becoming bolder. The angry man takes out his wallet and counts a thousand dollars for Stanley. He then hurriedly walks off with his badly shaken son, Brandon.


Next Day…


“Stanley!” a familiar voice comes a calling again. “Ok, here’s the thousand dollars for my interests for now, more than enough I believe,” Stanley speaks arrogantly. The few burly men accost him and pin him against the wall. “Listen here and listen good! I don’t know what happened but your previous donor for your borrowings has stopped giving us any money,” one gangster who has tattooed all over his shoulders speaks angrily.


“What do you mean?” Stanley shudders. “I thought my Uncle John had paid everything,” he adds confusingly.


“No! Uncle John had an instalment plan and we agreed to it. And now, he refused to pay. You are in great trouble, boy,” the thug speaks loudly.


“Ok. Ok. Let me call him,” Stanley begins to shiver.


“Is that Uncle John? This is Stanley. The loan sharks are with me and threatening me for not paying my previous loan. I thought you have paid for me,” Stanley utters desperately.


The voice on the other side answers, “Remember Brandon? I am his dad!” The line goes dead.


The parable of the Unmerciful Servant is only found in Matthew 18:21-34.


This story is a reaction of Jesus towards Peter asking about the frequency to forgive a person. Jesus does not mince His words when He says, seventy-seven times, a hyperbole to mean every time. The premises of the kingdom of heaven are unconditional love and mercy for everyone! Every single soul is precious in the eyes of God. And forgiveness is a pivotal characteristic in the Kingdom principles, never to be missed by every follower of the King of kings!


Unlike the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day, Jesus never once said something that He did not do. He always demonstrates whatever he says so that no one can point a finger at Him! His integrity is impeccable! When Jesus speaks of forgiveness to His disciples, His mind is invariably turns toward that day where He will be hung on the cross! That day would become a turning point in history for all mankind.


Jesus Christ forgave us unconditionally, without keeping record of past wrongs. So, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). To not forgive is like the parable of the Unmerciful Servant, a story that will make any reasonable person boiling in anger! That's exactly what Jesus wants to achieve when he tells that parable!


“Say sorry first and I will forgive you,” many may say. But Christ did not do that! He died for us while we were yet sinners. While the soldiers and people are crying out for his blood, Jesus proclaims, ‘Father forgive them” It is important for every son and daughter of the Kingdom to understand that unforgiveness in our life can block our spiritual growth like gangrene. More so, it blocks our influence in this world!

Note: I have learned that forgiveness and reconciliation are two separate issues altogether. You can forgive without reconciliation. Reconciliation requires two parties to come together and sort out their differences (if that happened, cool) but forgiveness requires only one. We forgive not to set the other person free, but to set ourselves free! When we forgive, it doesn’t mean that person who hurt you is free! Let God deal with that person, whichever way He likes. We are just ambassadors of the Kingdom! And Jesus is the King!


Next: The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
http://psbible.blogspot.com/2010/05/parable-of-workers-in-vineyard.html

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

THE PARABLE OF THE LOST SHEEP


Sarah peeks out of the window, sees a neighbour packing camping gears into his car, about to drive away for a family trip. She senses tears begin to form and quickly wipes them away from her misty eyes. Who cares anyway of how she feels, her narrow-minded reasoning seems to get the better of her. From the kitchen in her studio apartment, she hears a shout from her roommate, Cheryl. “Breakfast’s ready, girl! We’re getting late for work!” her friend calls, not knowing the rumblings in Sarah’s heart. “Ok. Coming,” she moans.


The girls are working in a hypermarket with meagre salary, enough to survive in the city. Sarah feels like a drop in an ocean in this huge one-storey mega store together with hundreds of workers. Busy people pass her by everyday and none has stopped to greet her and asked how she is doing.

“Hey! Aren’t you the one who escaped from the Home some time ago?” a man rudely asks. Sarah is taken aback by a familiar face she recognises from the orphanage. Andrew is the son of the caretaker and a notorious figure there. He co-runs the Centre with his dad with an iron fist, sorely lacking in love and compassion. It was those missing ingredients that Sarah and Cheryl ran away from, assisted by other under privileged teenagers who cheered them on. She risked never ever knowing her roots by her disappearing act. She dreams everyday of a warm family.

“What do you want from me?” Sarah questions without looking at Andrew.

“Nothing really. I am surprised at your survival skill. You actually can make it on your own,” he insinuates.

“Your Centre is not the centre of everything you know!” Sarah blurts. Although she wants to ask him lots of questions concerning her friends back there, her anger won’t permit her.

“You have started a riot there. Many had done the same since you left,” Andrew mutters annoyingly.

“Who wouldn’t? All you guys care is numbers and the grant and cash you received every year. It’s like this stupid mega store who only cares about profit and loss,” she gripes.

“Blah, blah, blah! Someone called in and looking for you, Sarah,” he speaks with a sly smile.

Sarah lunges at Andrew, throwing him off balance. “Who called me, Andrew! Tell me, who called me!” she shouts like a girl gone crazy. She always dreamt of someone calling her at the Home but that day never came.

“Hey! Hey! Back off!” Andrew manages to straighten up. “She said her name is Mrs. Webster,” he reveals, seeing the desperation of Sarah.

“What else did she say? Tell me please!” she pleads.

“Okay! Okay! She wanted to tell you something, that’s all! I got her number. You must thank me,” Andrew tells her with a sense of pride, back to his old self again.

For once in her stinking life, she senses hope, like a light through a long tunnel. Tears fill her eyes as her mind shoots back to that loving family next door. “Maybe Mrs. Webster could be my long lost Mama!” she whispers to herself.

Back at the apartment…

Sarah hears a knock on the door. “This could be it!” she tries to be calm. Opening the door, she finds a fine looking couple staring and looking intently at her. “Are you Sarah?” the woman sounds desperate. “Yes, I am!” Sarah replies softly. The already red-eyed lady burst out in tears, “Please forgive me! Please forgive me, Sarah!” The man holds her steady and explains, “Girl, we are deeply sorry for what has happened to you.”

“When you were born, both of us made a stupid decision to send you to the Home,” Mr. Webster continues.

“You mean you guys didn’t want me! How could you?” Sarah’s excitement turns to anger.

“Sarah, we were young and all we care was our own selfish little dreams. Forgive us, please,” her father pleads.

“Why now?” Sarah cries, begging for answers.

“We did enquire about you regularly at the Home. And we have been looking for you ever since you ran away,” Mrs Webster tearfully chips in. “We want you to come home to family, please!” she implores.

“Yes! We are a family of six now including you. You are our missing link, Sarah. Come back to us. We need you,” her father pleads with her.

Sarah nods her head and there they huddle together, crying unashamedly. While all these are going on, Cheryl is sobbing in her room.

“I know why you didn’t want me when I was born. It is because of my crippled legs, isn’t it? I am still a cripple. Do you really love me?” Sarah desires assurance.

“Today, you are not only Sarah. You are Sarah Webster! We love you because of who you are!” her dad hugs her tight.

“By the way, can I have one request from both of you? Can you adopt Cheryl, my roommate as family too?”

The parable of the Lost Sheep is found in Matthew 18: 10-14 and Luke 15: 4-7.

There is a car sticker that says, “If you don’t like my attitude, call 1800-Who-Cares”. We are living in a world that craves for success in terms of numbers, statistics and materialistic things. The more one has, the more successful the person is. Some go to the extent of being so impersonal just to make it in the world. They don’t give two hoots to anyone lesser than them and some even dare to marginalise people just to empower themselves.

In this parable, God looks at an individual as precious gem. In the Father’s eyes, everyone is equal and is a child that needs love and compassion. He knows every child and each of their names! King David declares God’s love by saying that God knew him even while he was in his mothers’ womb (Psalm 139).

In Matthew, Jesus speaks about children that adults will simply cast aside as unimportant. Not God! God loves them as much as the adults. He even assigns angels for each of them (Matt. 18:10-11).

In Luke’s version of the same parable, Jesus talks about the despised tax collectors and sinners in the eyes of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. But in the eyes of God, they are lost souls who need His touch of grace! Jesus is a ‘doctor’ who comes for the sick. He cannot heal those who think that they are healthy.

In fact, if we read carefully both parables, Jesus is actually rebuking those who think they have made it in life, spiritually (Matt. 18:1-4). In other words, they are ‘rich’ in spirit as contrast to the poor in spirit. The ninety nine sheep may refer or allude to these ‘healthy’ that Jesus would leave behind just to find the one who longs for His touch (Luke 15:7)! Jesus came to seek and save which was lost (Luke 19:10). In the book of Judges, God punished the Israelites by allowing enemies to overpower them but when they cried out, He delivered them. The best example is when Jesus went into Simon the Pharisee's house for dinner and a woman barged in, begging Jesus for a touch in desperation. Both Simon and the woman were in close proximity with Jesus, one was forgiven and healed, the other left untouched!

What is the difference between other religions and Christianity? Religions tell followers to find God and to please Him by doing stuffs. Christianity tells everyone that God finds you and he rescues you by sending His Son to be sacrificed on behalf of the whole world. Another car sticker reads, “SEARCH and RESCUE – Jesus searches for you and He rescues you”

If you are alive today, God loves you! You are not just a statistic but a precious soul that God adores and one that He sent Jesus Christ to die for! The world may not care but God cares!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

THE PARABLE OF THE NET


Brian walks past noisy classrooms on the way to meet the strong-headed principle of the school, Mr. Randy Houseman. He enjoys his success as the senior editor at Eduzine, a magazine which promotes all things education. Sometimes he does look back and being grateful to LifeZone College, giving him a chance when he himself detest further studies.


As Brian is walking towards the door of Mr. Houseman’s room, he can hear the clicking of cameras and sounds of those familiar flashes. He is not surprised at Randy’s inclusiveness of having every reporter that comes a calling to interview him. He pulls a chair at the back and sits uncomfortably down. A casual count by Brian, he sees at least twenty reporters, including one strong critique, everyone prepares for the all revealing story from this successful man.


“Mr. Houseman, why are you opposing LifeZone to continue being an elite college?” a lady reporter throws the first question.


“I believe in education for all! I believe in giving every young life a chance, telling them that they can make it too,” Randy shoots back convincingly.


“Tell us how you faced up to the board of directors who insisted to keep the college away from some undeserving students?” a man right next to Brian asks quickly.


“I have to do a lot of convincing and gathering supporters to fight along. All in all, it was perseverance that pulled me through.”


“Judging by the success of this College, about 80% students pass with distinction every year and with the percentage climbing, do you think you should stop taking in everyone and to keep it being successful?” the same man asks again.


“You have researched well, my friend. Why stop? Truth be told, my job here is not about my pride and success but the success of every one of those students who steps into this College.”


Houseman’s nemesis reporter stands up and asks in a booming voice, “Do you feel failure is coming your way as you continue to take in all kinds of students?” Brian can see some shaking their heads.


“I am not afraid of failure. I am more afraid to cut off the young ones before their time,” Randy answers confidently to the cheers from the floor.


“Which part do you think play the most pivotal role in LifeZone’s success?” another man quickly stands up and asks.


“The conviction of all the teachers here that all students can excel and they can make it.”


“Do you think you have any ‘bad’ teacher here in this college?” Brian shouts from the back.


Everyone, including Randy Houseman laughs. “Bad ones have gone elsewhere. To some elite schools, perhaps,” Randy gestures and laughs again.


“Brian, do you think we have bad teachers here?” the elderly man asks playfully.


“I don’t think so. If you have any, you would have sacked them,” Brian answers in jest.


“No. I won’t sack them! I would give them a chance like I have given all the students. No discrimination.” Randy speaks clearly.


The successful young man at Eduzine stands up and continues, “I wish to thank Mr. Houseman for his vision and how he has inspired me personally and has continued to inspire.”


Everyone listens intently to the bright young man. “I thank him for giving every student a chance here in this college,” he adds.


“I detested higher learning and I thought I could make do without college and I was wrong. It was Mr. Houseman who always challenged me with encouraging words that helped me to where I am today. In other words, he believed in me!”


“Thanks Dad!” Brian Houseman quips.


The parable of the Net is only found in Matthew 13:47-50. As Matthew 13 forms one succession of few parables spoken by Jesus, this one is linked with the last two parables. This one too is being spoken to the disciples only.


Human beings are so precious to God that His Hand of grace works like an extending vast net, thrown out from the heaven of love to the world. The disciples must have understood this parable perfectly as they are fishermen themselves. Jesus had earlier designated them as fishers of men (Matt. 4:19). As they followed Jesus everywhere, they would have seen through Jesus’ eyes, His undying love for mankind.


Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field" (Mat 9:35-38).


The word ‘Net’ that Jesus used here refers to the large seine net, thrown out into the water, to be left there for a certain amount of time. The top is held by a strong material and the bottom is left hung to the sea floor. It is designed to drag the bottom when the fishermen pull it to shore. Nothing in the sea within the net’s range could escape.


No one will escape God’s grace before the time of the end and no one will escape God’s judgment at the time of the end.


The sons and daughters of God’s kingdom knowing full well that impending judgment should roll up their sleeves, ready for the Harvest! We are NOT the ones to sort out fishes at the beach. It is the job of God’s angels! We are not the sorters of men but fishers of men!


In wrapping up all the parables in Matthew 13, Jesus said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old" (Mat 13:52).


Let us use whatever we have learn, experienced in the past and whatever we are learning today to be the powerful influence to the world.


Remember, God’s heart is all for good fish! And He wishes when the Net is lifted up, there will only be few bad fish.


The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Pet 3:9).


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

THE PARABLES OF THE HIDDEN TREASURE AND THE PEARL


William stares at the photo of his best friend, Ryan for quite a long while. This has almost become a ritual for him before he retires every night. “Tell me, Bro, what it is?” he asks playfully again, not expecting any answer from his long dead friend. Staying focus is his aim and so, by talking like this every day perhaps he may churn out some clues from his mind.


Ten years ago…

“Come on Bill, you have to run faster,” Ryan yells! Running like there is no tomorrow, William dashes towards his best friend. There they frolic in the waters like two children who have not been to the beach for a long time. William has always been captivated by Ryan’s innate joy like those rippling waters they have just created. More than that, Ryan’s ability to envision a future world keeps him enthralled. It was like a contrast to his life, for him there is no task worth dying for. In fact, William is miserable about everything at this moment. He has always wanted to ask his buddy about the secret to his sense of direction.

“Ryan, what makes you happy? I mean what really makes you happy?” William asks casually. “That’s a secret, my friend,” Ryan laughs.

“Oh! Come on!”

“You really want to know?”


“Ya..h”

“You have to catch me first!”

Ryan wades ahead deeper into the sea, throwing himself against the waves. William rushes playfully towards him. “Ryan! Okay, you win,” William shouts to his friend. All he can hear are sounds of waves pounding into the foaming sea. He dives in trying to find Ryan with every wave pullback but to no avail. No sound from him. No sight of his best friend. All William can do is to yell for help but his frantic shouts are drowned by roars of the waves.

William has gone on to become a successful entrepreneur in the fashion industry since that fateful day Ryan’s body washed ashore. Nevertheless, he cannot fathom what really makes him happy amidst all the riches and fame he has amassed. His friends tell him that he has made it and all he needs to do is to just sit back, relax and enjoy. The more he sits back, the more unsettle he becomes.

Ryan’s mother has shown William everything her son possessed but deep within him, that “this is it!” feeling still goes unfulfilled. “Ma’am, do you remember any other things he had that made him so fulfilled in life,” William presses. “I don’t remember any other,” Mrs Goldstein speaks warmly. The small apartment is filled with fragrance of flowers, with the evening sun lights up the mood with an orange glow. Mr Goldstein strolls carefully in with a teapot of warm Earl Grey and some homemade cookies.

“I am sorry to bring up the sad news again after so many years,” William confesses. “That’s all right, son. We have moved on in life,” the small-built man explains with a smile. William stares at the smiling photo of Ryan, hanging on the living room. He senses a strange burning sensation from within him. He leaps up from his chair, to the surprise of the old couple, their eyes widen with the antic of his son’s best friend.

“It is not things! It is not things!” William bursts out.

“What not things?” Mrs. Goldstein asks in amazement. The visitor amuses her.

“Now I know! Ryan’s fulfilment was not in things. I mean material things. It was people! It was you both!” he shouts.

“Okay. I got it! That explains why he had always gone over to the old folks home down the road,” Mrs Goldstein remembers.

“Ryan would be extremely happy when others were happy,” Mr. Goldstein declares. “He wouldn’t stop talking about some kids he got connected with,” he continues with a sense of pride.

William quits the fashion industry and sells off his stake in the company and all its subsidiaries. He even mortgages his bungalow for a smaller home. All the money collected is being channelled to charitable homes especially that one home Ryan, his friend, had grown fond of. Meanwhile his friends and colleagues commented, “Which planet do you come from?”

William stares at the photo of Ryan before he retires. “Hey Buddy, I have found it. Thank you,” he closes his eyes and smiles.

The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl are only found in Matthew 13:44-46. These parables were uttered to the disciples only when they pressed Jesus for explanation to the previous parable. And the disciples must have understood these two parables as Jesus did not need to explain further.

These two parables speak about an individual’s quest for “This is it!” moment. He will not stop looking until he finds something so extraordinary, something so precious to him that he is willing to give up everything just to have it.

What represents the hidden treasure in the field? What is the fine pearl in the vast ocean? In the previous parable, we got to know that the field represents the world. Perhaps the ocean also signifies the same as these two parables are related.

What could be so precious in this world for the kingdom of God to engulf itself upon it? What makes God so interested in this world today? The answer should be obvious! People!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

And who gave everything away just to purchase the treasure to himself?

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!” (Phil 2:5-8).

The verses above clarify something else that both these parables speak of. That the sons/daughters of the kingdom must be willing to do the same! And that our treasures are not gold and silver but precious lost souls who are to be brought back into the kingdom of light! All things in life must pale in comparisons to human lives!

Do we have the urgency enough to reach the lost? Are we purposeful enough like Jesus Christ who came to seek and save the lost? Or are we hanging on to worldly toys today that choke our call to do the same?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

PARABLES OF THE MUSTARD SEED AND THE YEAST



Hal looks out his office window and feels his muscles relaxed. He has been stressed lately concerning a big tender with promise of a multi-million dollar deal. On the outside, his eyes lock on a well-crafted landscape and a neatly arranged beautiful trees and flowers of various shapes and sizes. He releases a smile, a rarity not so long ago.


Two years ago, Hal got into trouble with the authority regarding his premises. His medium size company dealing with health products had acquired a small piece of land some time ago in its expansion plan. Business was dwindling and many staffs were leaving. Cardiox Co. suffered badly with its appearance image. Outside the new premises were strewn with rocks of all sizes and unsightly weeds. The fencing surrounding the compound faced with uneven grounds encroached on the already cramped parking spaces for its workers.

Inside the warehouse, products shipped in were stacked everywhere and lumped into a mess. Even the offices were strewn with products by sales personnel. And Hal was hesitant to sound the alarm as he was afraid to displease his key people. He knew of the struggle they had been after shifting to the new building.

Hal hears a knock on his door. “Come on in,” he calls out and looks at his watch. A well-built middle aged man carries a fresh pot of sun flower strolls in. “Good Morning, Sir!” he greets his Boss gleefully. This man is punctuality par excellence! Tyler is referred to as ‘The Gardener’ by everyone in the company. “Fresh and beautiful for your room,” he speaks with a grin. “Thank you so much, Tyler!” Hal responds delightedly.

Today, the company has become famous for being one of the neatest and ‘greenest’ working environments in the city. Hal considers ‘The Gardener’ as more than a ground staff, he is a key- personnel. All the staff just admires his gentle personality, and the dedication to his work. No one actually spotted a slight complain from him. When Tyler came in, he was just a lowly staff in charge of the grounds outside, whatever he could do to make the environment a little more conducive. Little did Hal know that the lowly worker could bring in such massive change to the entire company.

“Tyler, remember to come for our weekend Annual Dinner,” Hal invites him cordially. “Thank you, Boss. I'll be there,” the big man responds positively, as usual.

“Welcome everyone to our Annual Dinner of Cardiox Co!” shouts the MC. “Tonight is gonna be a good good night! Can everyone shout Yeah!” he adds enthusiastically. The small but solid crowd shouts in unison. “First, we want to say a big “Thank You” to Mr. Haley Ross for tonight’s dinner. Put our hands together to welcome on stage, our Boss!” Everyone gives Hal a standing ovation and a long thunderous applause.

“Thank you! Thank you! First of all, I want to say that you guys and gals and your family members here are not only part of this company as my staff, you are family,” he speaks emotionally. “But tonight I call for celebration for one reason and one reason alone,” he continues softly. Then two persons come on stage carrying a huge banner. As they unfurl it, the crowd sit in utter silence. The words read, “THANK YOU TO ‘THE GARDENER’”.

Tyler and his family sit quietly too, stare at the banner in unbelief. One person from the back stands up and starts to clap loudly. Then, the whole crowd stands up clapping and cheering loudly. Many whistle in approval. Mr Haley asks to quiet down so that he can speak again.

“Tyler, I want to confess one thing tonight. It is you that turns this company to where it is today. I was clueless at what to do before you came in and I seriously wanted to close down Cardiox Co. And then you came, started changing things little by little to what it is today. You are our miracle. And I just adore those words of yours, ‘Just Green Up!’” he speaks to the loud cheers from the floor.

Then one Shelly stands up, waving her hand to speak. “Tyler, that day my two children came into my office and asked who did all the flowers arrangement here. They were so impressed with my room, they promised to clean up and “green” up their rooms too. Thank you, Tyler!”

One by one stands up to offer praise to Tyler for helping them.

Tyler is already tearing before he is called to speak on the stage. “I thank you all for honouring me tonight. I am just a man who wants to do his best in any given work.”Hal comes on stage and hands him an envelope. He opens it up and finds a 20% share of the year company’s profit.

Hal pats his shoulders and says, “This is a gift for you, from me with the approval from all your colleagues!”

The parable of the Mustard Seed is found in Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32 and Luke 13:18-19 while the parable of the Yeast is found in Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:20-21.

Jesus often chooses common things to bring out His message such as the mustard seed and yeast. Straightaway the people connect with his story about small things. Mustard seed is not the smallest seed at that time (the Cypress seed is) but it is well known and it does depict smallness very well. It is a miracle that a small seed like this could grow into such a large shrub. Mustard also talks about influence with its pungent taste. The same goes with yeast, using it for making bread, the staple diet of the day.

These two parables speak of small beginnings but the end product is influential. One grows into a large shrub or a tree that even birds perch on its branches. One permeates into large amount of flour (this woman is probably a baker and not any ordinary housewife) and becomes bread, the end product that makes many fresh and strong.

Every radical idea starts with a small spark for it to fire up. The kingdom of God starts with twelve unschooled disciples of Christ and ends up today with billions.

One woman known to be a woman with great faith but she humbly said, “I am not the woman with great faith. I am a woman with little faith in a great God!”

Let us not despise our own small beginnings with God! In these parables, God wants us, sons and daughters of the kingdom to continue to be an influence in the world. We may be like a single mustard seed, hardly noticeable but when it is planted in Christ, we can be a power house! Like the parable of the Yeast, little by little, bit by bit, the whole dough will be ‘yeasted’ and made into fresh bread for weary souls!

Today, are we a fresh bread like Christ? Or are we stale like the world which keeps churning immorality, thinking it is spiritual food?

Next: Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
http://psbible.blogspot.com/2010/04/parables-of-hidden-treasure-and-pearl.html