Great Results

Mark 4:30-34 

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 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.”
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
“What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like?” Jesus asked one day. “The Kingdom of God is like, well, it’s like a tiny mustard seed.” That’s what we heard in today’s gospel. The Kingdom of God is like that tiny, insignificant mustard seed, the smallest seed in the world. But that tiny seed will germinate, and grow and grow, until it becomes a large bush.
A bush? The Kingdom of God is a mustard bush?
“Yes,” continued Jesus, “a plant so impressive that small birds can perch in its branches and make nests in its shade.”
Can you see what has happened here? From something very small has grown a large bush. Evidently God looks at things differently from the way we look at things. From what we have heard today, that comes as no great surprise. He chooses the least amongst Jesse’s sons to be a king. He rescues the least among the nations to make them a great nation. And all this, of course, points to the greatest example of all: Jesus and his cross. A man who appeared to be the least among all other men — despised, rejected, and treated as a common criminal — is the greatest of all. He is the Lord of all — the conqueror over sin, death and Satan — our Lord and Savior. God chooses what is seemingly weak to accomplish his purposes. Doesn’t Paul say that God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Cor. 1:27)?
One of the things that characterized Jesus was his ability to see beyond outward appearance to the possibilities and potential of an individual. He viewed others not so much as what they were, but what they could become.
An ordinary fishermen (Peter) became the rock on which the church was built.
A dishonest tax collector (Matthew) became a trusted friend and disciple.
An angry Pharisee (Paul), who was a persecutor of the church, became the apostle to the gentiles. And again, as we have seen before, it was not that these men were great themselves; it was God who used those small beginnings to do great things.
And that is what Jesus is saying in his parable. He is inviting us to look at the kingdom of God with new eyes. The outside appearance may seem insignificant and so small that you can hardly see it, but the results are great. If you believe that this is how God does things, then you will not be too quick to dismiss the small and insignificant. You will not give up on yourself, on others, on the church, or even the world, just because all you see are signs of weakness and insignificance. Rather, you will believe that with God all things are possible, even if all you see is a tiny mustard seed, something small and insignificant.
To believe this is to see yourself in a new light. Your faith may be as small as a mustard seed, but if you take it seriously and use it, mountains can be moved. You can do great things for God if you are willing to offer your love, generosity, kindness and abilities, however small and insignificant you may think they are.
The winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, began an orphanage with such a vision. She told her superiors, “I have three pennies and a dream to build an orphanage.”
“Mother Teresa,” 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 parable of the mustard seed reminds us that God’s beginnings may be small, but his results great.


Let us Pray: 

Dear God, it is said that big things come in small packages. Help us to celebrate the greatness in the small treasures you plant in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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