Lord, I am but a mustard seed in Your kingdom.
Read MARK 4:21–34
A Lamp on a Stand
21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”
The Parable of the Growing Seed
26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
New International Version (NIV)
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“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9).
Jesus continues to teach the disciples about the kingdom of God, by telling two parables focusing on the kingdom’s growth (26–32). The parable of the growing seed reminds us of the quiet and continuous growth of the kingdom. The seed will bear fruit at its own appointed time and a harvest is promised. The parable of the mustard seed carries a similar theme. The mustard seed is one of the tiniest seeds, but it grows to become one of the largest garden plants. Both these parables describe silent and almost unnoticed growth with amazing final results.
So it is with the kingdom of God. It will grow from insignificant beginnings to final triumph. This is indeed a very comforting, encouraging word for us. In our service for the Lord, we may not always see the fruit of our labor. My father suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and lost his memory towards the end of his life. Yet amazingly, there was one thing he always remembered. It was a simple Sunday-school song he had learned: ‘Jesus loves me; this I know’. This song kept him close to God until he breathed his last. I often wonder if my father’s Sunday-school teacher ever thought that a simple song he taught a little boy would have a lasting effect more than 80 years later.
In whatever capacity you serve God – be it a Sunday-schoolteacher, a cell-group leader, a worship leader – know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Do not let impediments or discouragement rob you from the joy of serving God.
Have you been disheartened by a discouraging response in your service for God? If so, how has the teaching of Jesus helped you concerning your ministry?
Lord, help me to understand more clearly the true meaning of Your many parables.