Kim, in her comment on my blog, was utterly brilliant. The parables of Matthew 13 are all about transformation. Written like someone who was sat under the teaching of John Ortberg for a little while! And stupid me could not see it well enough to say it. Nevertheless, my sermon work is not complete.
I have several tasks. First of all, I think this discussion of smallness (in the first part) and single-mindedness (in last "gem" parables) need to be integrated into the concept of transformation and how it works.
Next, I think the thinking inspired by Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis needs to be integrated. Specifically, that the kingdom is about service and sacrifice and we have made it about power and control. And that maybe it is our weakness and inadequacy that makes us qualified to be kingdom workers, not our competence and our skills.
And also, I am thinking about discussing the word "surrender" as a metaphor of faith, especially after talking to a Moslem visitor who wanted to understand my faith.
Any of you have any helpful comments and stories to add to this.