Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private. (Mark 4:26-34)
The richest years of my ministry were in Panama. In those years, I learned more about living life than the preceding 35 years. The most consistent lesson was contained in the simplest of things . . . greeting one another. When you meet another – be it stranger or friend – you don’t just say hello and launch into your business. Instead, you ask how the person is, how his/her family and you might even comment on the beauty of the day. Through that, you show respect and true concern for the person you are greeting.
That small nugget of courtesy colors your day. It reminds you that we are interdependent. It reminds you that we value one another. It reminds you that it is not about one self but it is about one another. It reminds you that your greeting, your concern, your civility does affect the life of another person. It reminds you that one moment has the potential of changing the life of another person.
Little things make a big difference and the Kingdom of God is built on little things. They are the mustard seeds that we plant and Christ magnifies those actions and makes them abundant. There is a tendency of the human condition to focus on the big things or problems of life and that’s OK. Unless. Unless they are done at the expense of relational moments. Not at the expense of that 30-second conversation that makes all the difference.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, began her orphanage with such a vision. She told her superiors, “I have three pennies and a dream From God to build an orphanage” Her superiors chided gently, “you cannot build an orphanage with three pennies…with three pennies you can’t do anything.” “I know,” she said, smiling, “but with God and three pennies I can do anything.”
The task of the followers of Christ is to look for the signs of the kingdom which may be no larger than a mustard seed; to live and love with a new perspective; and to offer that perspective in the name of God to all that we meet.
When Jesus tells His listeners that the Kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed which is the smallest seed on earth but which becomes the greatest of all shrubs, He is inviting men and women to look at the world with new eyes.
You can do great things for God if you are willing to offer yourself to one who has planted in you the tiny seeds of love, generosity, mercy, justice and kindness.
Each of us needs to spend more time looking for the mustard seed. To look for the first signs of His kingdom with faith and optimism. To never dismiss the small and insignificant. If we do that, we will not give up on ourselves, on others, on the church, or even on the world just because we see many signs of sin and brokenness.
Jesus Christ has called you to be His disciple. No matter what your situation or condition, He has something important for you to do. Believe that and it will change how you think and how you live in the world. Believe that and you will receive a new enthusiasm and excitement about life. Believe that and you and the world will be different.
Prayer of The Day
“Dear Lord, I pray that you allow the seeds of your words to take deep root in my life and transform me unto a fruit-nearing disciple of your kingdom.”
Where are you spending your energy? Are you too focused on the big moments, or are you attentive to the small ways that Christ is calling you to serve? Are you planting mustard seeds that will grow into something amazing, or trying to replant cedar trees on a hilltop? This week, be attentive to the small parts of your relational life – and get ready to see some Kingdom size results.