“So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
— Acts 11:18

An old hymn reminds us that “God moves in a mysterious way.” Sometimes that’s more than God’s people can handle. Acts 11 shows how the brand-new church in Jerusalem was unsure what to do when Gentiles came to faith in Jesus. They were surprised and wondered what God was up to.
In a parable in Mark 4, Jesus says the kingdom of God is like seed scattered on soil. The seed sprouts and grows, taking on a life of its own. Eventually there is a harvest. Nowadays we can explain all the processes that produce a harvest. But 2,000 years ago those processes were a mystery, something beyond explanation and yet wonderful.
Similarly, the kingdom of God is wonderful and often beyond explaining. Like planted seed, the kingdom has a life of its own. The kingdom is outside our control. It grows and bears fruit however God pleases, without our intervention. It’s not that God doesn’t use us in the processes of the kingdom. But the kingdom is full of surprises—as surprising as Gentiles joining with Jews into one church.
Have you seen God move in mysterious ways? Has God given you or your church unexpected opportunities to offer hospitality, to practice generosity, even to tear down boundaries that would keep people out? How wonderful is that?!

Lord Jesus, you are the greatest kingdom mystery of all. You became human so that we can become more human than we have ever been. That’s beyond us! Amen.

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