Sunday, 14 June 2015

Like a Mustard Seed

Jesus 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.’ With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
In England we talk about mighty oaks coming from little acorns, which I guess is the same image. Seeds for the most part are tiny things. Even acorns are big compared to sunflower seeds, or poppy seeds, or tomato seeds. They're as small as grains of sand. But let them get enough good soil, and they grow. Let the words of Jesus catch just enough of your heart that what he says makes sense - just give God's Spirit room to grow. The things Jesus did - the way he was prepared to welcome everybody, the posh people and the ordinary people and the ones everybody thought were useless or just plain bad. Jesus loved them all. He was prepared to put up with the mess in other people's lives because, I guess - let's think about the soil.

Normal soil is dirty and full of bugs. So. We could try growing seeds in something clean. We can try and grow things in sand. Get some nice washed play-sand from the garden centre. You can plant a seed. It'll grow in there. Because nothing else is in there, it'll grow quite quickly. But then it will wither and die. Because there's no nutrients, is there? Just nice clean silica. Doesn't even hold water.

But think of growing a seed in real soil. Early on, it's trickier. There could be other seeds already there. There could well be slugs and snails. If you're growing pumpkins, you've got to be on your guard, or they'll be on your gourd. It's more of a pain getting seeds going in real soil.

But when they get going, they're much richer.  The soil holds moisture. The soil is rich in nutrients. There's worms working, building up the structure - bacteria and worms breaking down the plants that were here before, but converting them into more nutrient to breathe new life into the new plant.

What I'm saying is, you don't wait till you think you're good enough, to look to let God into your life. Mostly because you'll never make it. You'll never be holy enough, clever enough, well-behaved enough, un-sweary enough for that. But God's kingdom doesn't work like that. Let just one seed of the Kingdom fall into the right place - just one scrap of soil in your heart - and God's Spirit will make it grow. Even if, at first, you don't notice. And then all the riches in your heart - all the things you didn't realise could be good in God's eyes - will support the seed that was planted. And just as every seed is unique - and just as you are unique - your knowledge and love of God will grow, just as his love grows in you.

A seed is planted. It just needs somewhere to grow.


  1. I got a little lost after the gourd - which was a good joke

    1. Well, I guess that's an achievement, at least.

  2. Beware of hydroculturalists, who come to you in farmer's clothing, but inwardly they are Raveningham gardeners.


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