Sunday May 19th – Matthew 13:9-17
The Message: Are you listening to this? Really listening? – Matthew 13:9
Monday May 20 – Matthew 13:1-9
This week of devotionals for our GPS will include several parables from Matthew about God’s Kingdom. But, this parable talks about the sower and the seed and not the Kingdom. This parable asks of us if we are listening and ready to receive the news about God’s Kingdom. Today, pause and consider if you are ready to receive God’s Kingdom? Are you ready to be surprised, to grow and be challenged by the Kingdom God has planned for all of us?
- Prayer: Gracious God, you welcome us each to be members of your Kingdom. Prepare our hearts to be receptive to your Kingdom today. Amen.
Activity: Spend time reflecting on God’s Kingdom today, write down or draw your thoughts. How would you describe God’s Kingdom? Save your reflections for the end of the week. Have your ideas and thoughts changed?
Tuesday May 21 – Matthew 13:31-32
This week for the GPS we are reading from The Message. We’re used to hearing the story with the mustard seed but today we read it with “pine nuts.” When we read this parable we learn that God’s Kingdom is a Kingdom that grows so large that people make a home in the Kingdom. How is God’s Kingdom your home? What steps could you take today to feel at home in God’s Kingdom? Are there people who are not able to make a home in God’s Kingdom? How can you welcome them?
- Prayer: Welcome me into your Kingdom-home today God and help me to choose to welcome people into your home, as well. Amen.
Activity: When has church felt like home to you? This next time you are at a church look for signs of “home.” Did you notice anything different or new?
Wednesday – Matthew 13:33
In this single verse parable, we see the image of God’s Kingdom in a woman kneading dough. We knead dough for three reasons, 1) to mix the ingredients, 2) to promote the formation of gluten which binds it together, and 3) to help the dough ferment and grow. How different would the Kingdom of God look if we were intentional about kneading our lives together as a community of faith? How can you practice “kneading” at St. Matthew’s?
- Prayer: God, today I ask that you knead me together as part of your Kingdom. Help me to grow and learn to develop into a full member of your Kingdom. Amen.
Activity: Bake some bread today or sometime this week. Buy some yeast and spend some time kneading. How does it feel to spend the time waiting and working for something to develop? What do you need to wait and work for to develop here at St. Matthew’s?
Thursday – Matthew 13:44-52
This set of Scriptures includes three parables about God’s Kingdom and one about being a student in God’s Kingdom. Each parable reveals something unique about God’s Kingdom. The first shows how something small can have incredible value. The parable about the pearl reinforces the great value we should place on God’s Kingdom. The third parable about the casting of the fishnet refers to the future coming of God’s Kingdom. The final parable is reminder that as members of the Kingdom we are trained to convey the message of God. We are called to share the incredible value of the gift of God’s grace and love in God’s Kingdom. How do you share God’s Kingdom?
- Prayer: God, today help me to value your Kingdom and share its value with others. Amen.
Activity: Consider what things (or treasures) you value most; a wedding ring, a gift, a family heirloom. Why do they hold value in your life? What stories do you tell about these treasures? What stories do you tell about God’s Kingdom? Write down your story of God’s Kingdom. Share the story with a friend or family member.
Friday May – Matthew 18:23-35
This parable is a more difficult one. As we read it we may feel condemned. In one moment the king shows grace to the servant. When the servant does not show mercy the king is angered and has the servant tortured. You may wonder is that what God has planned for me? What about God’s abundant mercy? Instead, read this Scripture as an opportunity to consider your motivations in forgiving someone. Where is your heart centered when you choose to show mercy? Are you showing mercy to extend God’s love or to benefit yourself? How can mercy in your life be Christ-centered? How is mercy a part of God’s Kingdom?
- Prayer: God of mercy, forgiveness is hard. Sometimes I hold on to pain and struggle to have a heart that focuses on the love that Jesus offers me. Mold my heart today to be more like Jesus. Amen.
Activity: When was the last time you asked for forgiveness from someone? What was it like to feel the assurance of forgiveness? When was the last time you offered forgiveness to someone? How did it feel to forgive them? If God’s Kingdom is one of forgiveness who do you need to forgive today.
Saturday – Matthew 20:1-16
We read about the abundance of God’s grace in this parable. This gift is surprising because it is in its very nature egalitarian and equitable. In God’s Kingdom we all receive the same gift of love and grace. But sometimes, we feel as if we have been treated unfairly; we doubt that God’s love can be so capable of offering such radical grace. When have you witnessed the abundance of God’s grace? How can you both accept and extend God’s grace to others – whether deserved or undeserved?
- Prayer: God of great abundance, your grace surprises us with its generosity. Help me to accept that gift and share your grace. Amen.
Activity: Doodle or visualize the word grace today. What others words do you connect with grace? Love, mercy, justice, righteousness? How do you witness God’s grace at work in the Kingdom today?