Day 4: Seeds



It is Sunday morning.  Today I will get up, drive to downtown, climb the stairs of the old brick building on Polk street, go into the room who’s walls were put up to be a bedroom for my husband’s mom and dad, sit down with about 16 girls from our youth department, and tell them what the Bible says.

This time is something I look forward to every week.  Why?  Because I love Jesus, and I love talking about Him.

Today I want to tell you about Him.  God invented the idea of story.  He began the story that we are all apart of with these words, “In the beginning.”  Jesus loved teaching in stories, and on His time on Earth, He told a few stories about mustard seeds.

The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ And the Lord said, ‘If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.’
— Luke 17:5-6 ESV

There is an orchid that grows in the tropical rain forest that has the smallest seed in the world.  One seed weighs about1/35 millionths of an ounce.

Why wouldn’t Jesus tell the disciples about that orchid seed?

Jesus used items familiar to his disciples and the crowds to teach.  He wanted to make big ideas, like faith and kingdom work, easier to understand.  The disciples were familiar with mustard trees, and it was the smallest seed that that would bring images to the imagination of the disciples in order to impart spiritual insight.

I imagine Jesus looking around and seeing the mulberry tree and knowing the last place it would grow is next to the overly salty Dead Sea.

The more popular mustard seed story involves a mountain.

He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.’
— Matthew 17:20-21 ESV

A man had just brought his demon possessed son to Jesus, and the man was a tattle tale.  He told Jesus how the disciples could not heal his son.  Jesus healed the boy instantly, condemning the faith of the disciples.  The disciples came to Jesus privately, and asked why they could not heal the demon possessed boy.

In The Message version, Jesus answers them with this phase, “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously.”

I like that counter-example of faith.  Faith is not taking God seriously.

Jesus used seed illustration one more time in the parable of a mustard seed.  He told this story with two sentences, but these two sentences say so much.

He put another parable before them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’
— Matthew 13:31-32 ESV

He was telling His disciples that Kingdom work cares for the vulnerable.  The disciples were constantly striving to be the most important among themselves.  Questions of rank and greatness continued to come up, even until the night of the Last Supper.

There were times when Jesus had to scold the disciples for overlooking the most exposed humans, children.

So Jesus told them this story.  A small seed is planted and grows into the largest tree of the garden.  That tree’s purpose is to allow the small birds to come and find provision and relief in it’s branches.

We are the bird, and He is the tree.

Whenever we grow in faith and human importance during our time in kingdom work, our job is to emulate Christ and to give shelter to the small and deficient among us: to teach, invest in, and provide for the defenseless, the weak, the littlest among us.

That is kingdom work.  And kingdom is impossible without faith.



Worship with me.