The Kingdom of Heaven is like — the mustard on a corn dog.
We are in the middle of a sermon series on Jesus’ parables on the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew records a large number of these parables. Early in his Gospel account Matthew also records Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5,6). It is in this sermon that Jesus teaches how the citizens of His Kingdom are expected to live while in this world. Matthew 6 contains Jesus’ model prayer which in part says,
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 NLT)
Jesus’ disciples, His followers, are to pray for the Kingdom of Heaven to be realized here on earth. It is not just a future place for the faithful when we die. A king’s kingdom is where his will is obeyed. Jesus’ followers live to obey His will; to be His people. According to the Sermon on the Mount Jesus wants us to be salt and light; people who don’t give in to uncontroled anger or seek revenge, have God-honoring sexual morals, letting our word be known to be true, known for generosity—well, you have read this part of Matthew, I am sure.
After that great teaching on Kingdom-life Jesus tells these parables. Some are long. Some are as short as two verses. Some come in pairs like rapid fire bursts of truth told in stories. Jesus impresses on us that even in the midst of a world of disappointment, cruelty, tragedy and pain (just watch the news reports) joy can be found. Living in the Kingdom of Heaven transcends the sorrows of life because of the King and His love for us.
A devotional and combined Bible reading plan had me in the book of Ecclesiates not long ago. Now the author of that book could be a little pessimistic. But he looks at everything as “under the sun.” He uses that phrase a couple of dozen times. He is only looking at things from the perspective of this world.
Ecclesiastes 5:16–17 are the two verses that caught my attention, “People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind. Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry.” (NLT) I have conducted 300 plus funerals and have ministered in many situations when people have died. The sentiment of that last sentence of verse 17 is often very evident.
That’s why Jesus was so excited to proclaim the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven! Life doesn’t have to be so miserable. Those of us who are in the Kingdom are to be living as people who have a purpose (serving and honoring our Lord); and, we should be telling our friends about what we have found so they, too, can find joy (Matthew 13:44) in the Kingdom. As a bonus, the Kingdom just keeps on going into eternity. If you are a citizen of the Kingdom then eventually you get to spend the all of eterntiy in the very presence of the King (and I don’t mean Elvis!).
So what’s deal with the corn dog? It came up in a recent sermon on the Parable of the Mustard Seed. Even though the mustard seed represents the Kingdom’s small start then exponential growth, I can’t help but think of the mustard plant’s end poduct — the condiment mustard. The best yellow mustard is what is smeared all over the best corndogs — the ones you buy at the county fair. That pungent yellow goodness cuts through the grease of that corn dog and makes it delectably palatable. So it is with the Kingdom of Heaven. As citizens of the kingdom, Christians should be cutting through the grease of this sinful world to help make it better for Christ’s sake. As the old song says, “life is worth the living” then.
Citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven do that as individuals and as a part of Christ’s church. Right now as a congregation it’s exciting to think about new opportunities that might present themselves should our building swap and move come to fruition. I wonder how we can best be represening the Kingdom of Heaven in Longview. I suspect that God has a surprising adventure lined up for us.
So, how will you help spice up someone’s world today? Be purposeful and look for opportunities as you live like Jesus where you find yourself.
By the way, I will be preaching through more Kingdom of Heaven parables until the end of February. Come and join us. The Kingdom of Heaven is like. . . .