Luke 13:18 – Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
Luke 13:19 – It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
Hello readers, back with a new blog today. Today I am talking about a parable Jesus Christ spoke, which is quite a simple parable, but one with profound truths in it, which like with the rest of the Bible, often may require mining and waiting on God to get the gold. I only noticed this parable recently even after reading past it many times.
Today I want to speak briefly about the topic of “spiritual parasites”. Because this is what I see in this parable, spiritual parasitism. I’m mainly focusing on the fowls in the branches of this great tree that Jesus spoke of. And I want to talk about people who are not born again Christians, but who sponge off and benefit immensely from the faithfulness, lives, presence, influence and ministry of real Christians.
Granted, it is not the most fun thing to talk about, but if you know what a parasite is and you’ve been in Christianity for any length of time, you’ll have seen birds in the branches. I see so many birds in the branches of Christianity.
This parable really hits home when you observe birds in nature. I work at an orchard, and we put nets on and off every year to keep birds out of the trees. There can be lots of birds in a tree at once, and they’re in there to benefit from the shade and security and safety and food that that tree can offer.
They’re there for how the tree can serve them. They come quickly, and they go quickly. And birds flit from tree to tree constantly in a restless fashion. And a lot of people are like these birds, because they find a good tree, lodge in its branches for as long as that tree serves them, but they’re quick to go when it’s value is exhausted to them.
I’ve seen many birds in the branches of the tree of Christianity. I’ve seen in my own life so many people in the tree who are not saved, who are in Christianity just for how it can serve them. They want to be served, not to serve God. They’re takers, not givers. And practically, I’ve seen so many people who manipulate and exploit the good graces of Christians. The system works for them, so they’re happy to play the system.
This also shows why the social gospel is so ineffective. Yes, you can have all the outreaches and programs in the world, and they may be good in and of themselves. But how many people are actually getting saved? Or do you just have birds in your branches? Here today, gone tomorrow for another tree. In many churches there’s a lot of people just in there for friendship and feeding… not for salvation and serving. Jude 1:12 “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear…”
Just about every church has birds in its branches. And that’s to be expected. They’re not true Christians, and they never will be, they’re in it for how the church can serve them. People know churches are places where they can be looked after, looked out for, and they prey on the grace and mercy and compassion of the true Christians in them.
And the fact is, even this world has really benefited from true Christians. True Christians are the salt and light of this world. And while Christians are despised, the effect they have in being vessels of truth and righteousness as they lift Christ up in this dark world is really the only thing holding back overwhelming darkness.
In thinking about birds in my branches, I thought of the example of Joseph in the book of Genesis. I thought of Joseph in the house of Potiphar, and how Potiphar benefited from Joseph being there. Potiphar was more than happy to prosper through Joseph’s honesty and work ethic and God blessing him. But that never translated to Potiphar being saved at all.
Maybe you can think of spiritual parasites in your life, but firstly it would be better to ask… is it I? first. Am “I” a spiritual parasite? Am in the bird in the branches. Often we hear God’s word and solve everyone else’s problems with it, but we never look inward. Psalm 51:6 “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts…” Are you saved? Are you born again? Are you serving God? Are you the birds… or are you the branches?
Watch out for spiritual parasitism, whereby you live off someone else’s faith and sacrifice. There are many people not willing to make the sacrifices of following Jesus Christ, but they’re more than happy to benefit from those who do make the sacrifice. Are you serving yourself of others, or are you serving others? Remember, scabs do peel off in the end. This parable really hits home, may the truth of God’s word hit home in all our lives today.
Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 30 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)