Scripture: Mark 4:21-34
Key verses: (30-32) He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
Reflection: Sometimes we think that the little things don’t matter. We look at big, monumental problems in the world, and wonder what we can do to change things. Or we see grand movements and inspiring actions of others and think that we can’t contribute much ourselves. We are only regular people. We aren’t particularly gifted or prophetic. What difference could we possibly make?
The Bible is full of stories of God using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Abraham and Sarah were just regular (old) people. Moses was called despite a problem speaking. David was just a small shepherd boy. Mary was just a young girl. Paul had some kind of problem, his “thorn in the side.”
Jesus tells this parable of a mustard seed, just a tiny little speck, the smallest of all. Yet it grows into the greatest of all plants, so great that birds find shade for their nest. He says that the Kingdom of God grows like that. God can use the smallest seed to birth a kingdom.
Maybe there is a word here about not measuring our personal success or ministry in huge numbers or gestures all the time. Perhaps there is something powerful happening when two or three gather together in God’s name. Maybe the kingdom is growing when even one person responds. Maybe the lemonade stand the children set up, that raises $23.75 for flood relief matters, not just in total cash, but in kingdom work. Maybe every penny donated for Loaves & Fishes this summer matters, one cent at a time. Maybe just one kind word from us, or one grievance forgiven, matters. Today, look for a small way to join in the work of God’s kingdom.
Prayer: Lord, I am only one person. I am not particularly gifted or brave. But I know that you can do great things. Use me somehow, in a small way, to build up your kingdom today. Through Christ the Lord I pray. Amen.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].