Matthew 13:51-52 (ESV)
51 “Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.”
52 And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”
Jesus closes these kingdom parables by handing his leaders a photo of how he sees them.
They are scribes — teachers like Ezra in the Old Testament.
They are like home owners practicing open hospitality with all who drop in. They have collections — treasures that are NEW (Jesus is the promised one Moses and the prophets had predicted) and OLD (The one who is older than Abraham or Adam and who makes all of the teaching of the Old Testament clear) is training them.
How will your leadership look different in the days ahead as you show off the treasures in your house? Effective leaders are effective teachers.
Matthew 13:47-50 (ESV)
47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad.
49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous 50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus is honest about how messy the kingdom is right now. There have always been hucksters, fakers, deceivers, and the greedy mixed in the compassionate Jesus like peace makers. Be at ease in the mess. God will make sure it all gets sorted out.
There will be judgement but God does NOT put his leaders in charge of trying to carry it out. Don’t let your leadership be defined by judging everyone’s motives, words and actions. You can’t see the heart and your listening and vision are limited and polluted with your own issues. Just lead with your eyes on the King. He has already delegated judgement to the angels! If you are in an ungodly leadership situation — follow God’s word and be responsible for YOUR choices. Be a good steward of YOUR life but trust God to clean up the stinky mess.
Matthew 13:45-46 (ESV)
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Jesus does something he has not done in any of his other teaching about the kingdom. The kingdom is a PERSON not a mustard seed, leaven or a treasure. The kingdom is a BUSINESS MAN who finds the ultimate pearl and sells all he has to possess it.
Jesus shows us the heart of the King who rules this kingdom. “For God so love the world he gave his only son…” (see John 3:16). God is the merchant. Our King laid down his life, gave it all, to possess us. That means God sees us as His pearl. Put Matt 13:44 with these verses and you have the king’s subjects sold out to the kingdom and the king sold out to his subjects. We live in a kingdom that is based on unconditional love and sacrifice. Jesus’ teaching echos a theme found Genesis to Revelation — God is looking for a people who declare, “You are our God!” and the people hear God declare, “You are my people!”
How will you lead Jesus followers differently this week if you see them as God’s treasured jewelry collection?
Matthew 13:44 (ESV)
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Jesus holds up a vision of a kingdom that is our greatest treasure. To have the kingdom is to have the JOY of having everything that really matters. Paul echos a similar idea in Philippians 3. He threw aside all of his other treasures for the sake of knowing Jesus. The king is THE treasure of the kingdom — not a castle, territory or riches.
Are you leading where your joy is HIS kingdom? Do leaders make a mistake if they seek to USE His kingdom to build their own kingdom?
This week how can you encourage people to discover the JOY of giving all for the Kingdom?
Matthew 13:33 (ESV)
33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”
Jesus had a vision of a subtle but invasive Kingdom. His rule in human hearts may not make many headlines but it works its way through all of society.
Think of all of horrible acts performed all around the world every day. But then imagine if you took out all noble, sacrificial, loving, compassionate choices. True, not every good act is performed by a Christian. But every good act does point to a blueprint of a preferred good — that happens to line up with God’s design for how people are supposed to relate. And billions of Christ followers do perform good life giving actions and give God the glory
As leaders, who can you encourage to be steadfast, drawing of the grace giving ever present Holy Spirit, so they may be God’s salt and light in a dangerous dark place?
Matthew 13:31-32 (ESV)
31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.
32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
God’s kingdom may not appear to be a big thing. On one level it does not appear as large as nation states or corporations. But look again! The kingdom is growing, it is becomes THE tree — the infrastructure of all of these other structures. Travel around the world and you will find Christ followers living out kingdom values in Microsoft, Apple, New Zealand, and Egypt.
Leaders — do not just look at a map or advertising — look, rejoice, pray, lead with seeing what the Kingdom IS and what it will be becoming.
Jesus often spoke of his kingdom. Over the coming week I will be posting one of his reflections from Matthew 13 each week and applying them to leaders being effective and vibrant.
Jesus saw himself as the King. His rule was present when he lived in the flesh on earth. His rule was extended through those who invited the king to rule over them. He taught his followers to pray — “May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
The church is not the kingdom but it is the gathering of the Kings’s followers living in anticipation of His return. (see I Thess 1:8-10)
For our leadership to align with God’s leadership we must have Kingdom vision. We embrace, model and invite others to live with supreme allegiance to King Jesus and to practice the values of his kingdom.
In the weeks ahead we will look at five visuals Jesus used to remind his leaders of important truths about the kingdom.