The Mustard Seed Kingdom
Here is another illustration Jesus used: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches."
As Jesus preached in the rural regions of Galilee, he naturally communicated his message with common illustrations from everyday life. One of these illustrations used a mustard seed, which was well known as a tiny seed. Then, when fully grown, the plant that began as a mustard seed was impressively large. So, just because a mustard seed was small, it shouldn't be discounted.
Similarly, the kingdom of God was truly present in the ministry of Jesus, but relatively small in scope and impact. People were being healed. Demons were being cast out. But the kingdom of God had not arrived in the fullness of its power, with evil vanquished and the new creation established. Those who were looking for the grand and glorious kingdom of God were, no doubt, disappointed in the ministry of Jesus. "Don't discount the reality of the kingdom in my ministry," Jesus warned. "It is like a mustard seed: small and insignificant now, but this is just the beginning."
It's easy for ordinary Christians to feel as if they really don't matter in the kingdom of God. As you seek to live out your faith each day, it might seem to you as if you're not making a whit of difference. But your mustard seed does matter! You may not be in a position to change the world, but what you do each day for the Lord is part of his kingdom work.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever felt as if your effort for God doesn't really matter? How might your life be different if you really believed that even the smallest efforts on behalf of God's kingdom really do matter? Are there mustard seed actions you can do today?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, our world values bigness, maximum impact. We like the full-grown mustard plant, and often neglect or even disparage the seed. This can be true even of the church, when we're most impressed by giant churches doing giant good works. Along the way, we can end up thinking that our efforts really don't matter. After all, we're just sowing tiny mustard seeds.
Forgive us, Lord, for neglecting what you would do through us because it isn't big enough. Forgive us for failing to do the good works you have prepared for us because they don't have a major impact.
Help us to do the work of your kingdom, however insignificant it might seem. May we see every avenue of life as an opportunity to live for you. Set us free from worrying about the size of our efforts, so that we might sow the mustard seeds you have given us to sow. Amen.