Summary: A Message using the Parable of the Mustard Seed
From Small Beginnings…
June 18, 2006
Sometimes things are not as they appear to be. This parable has long been used to describe the amount of faith one would need to be used by God. I want to submit to you today that this story is much more than that. Getting back to the first statement, let me share with you a story. This man went into the hospital to have major surgery. He was informed of the success probability and knew that it would be touch and go. Well the man decided to have the surgery. After the surgery the man was placed in a room to recover. As he began to wake up he noticed that the curtains to his room were closed. He called the nurse to his room to inquire about this situation. The nurse explained to him that she had decided to close the curtains because of the large fire across the street. She further stated that she knew he was worried about the surgery and she did not want him to wake up and think that surgery has failed. Things are not always as they appear.
In the day of larger is better, we are led to believe that as a small church we are not significant or that we do not have a role to play in bringing forth God’s Kingdom. We are in good company. The movement Jesus initiated seemed insignificant to those on the outside. There was nothing magnificent or grand about the kingdom that Jesus and his small band of 12 disciples represented. Christianity for certain had a small and obscure beginning.
Even the teachings of this Jesus seemed to be doomed from the start. Who ever heard of loving your enemies? Turning the other cheek? Walking an extra mile? Receiving by giving? Wow, Jesus’ teachings were as revolutionary then as they are today in our secular society. But let’s not miss the main point here. The parable is comparing the smallness of the seed to the greatness of the results produced. There is potential for Kingdom building from small beginnings. Shocking results came from such a small seed which was expected to yield nothing. But Jesus said the mustard seed produced a plant that became greater than all herbs. But why a mustard seed?
Today we are spoiled with our canned, bottled, and packaged food. But in Jesus’ day almost everyone hard their own garden. An integral part of the garden in Jesus’ day was the mustard plant. The mustard plant was well known for it’s:
Corrective power in disease
Efficacy against venom
It’s fiery vigor – it was the one spice that poor people used as a condiment
Pungent taste that represents the quickening, stimulating power of the gospel.
Yes, for such a small beginning, there comes a greater potential than what is expected given the face value of the sower of the seed.
Truly the mustard seed beginning of One man and His disciples has become “greater than all herbs.” Jesus + 12 + 70 + 500 + 3000 at Pentecost. Then we see the gospel spread all over the world. God used the original 12 unlettered and unlearned men to start global evangelism. He can use us too if we are willing to become the seed.
We should never thank of ourselves as being too small to make a difference. It may seem at first that we have no effect, but if we continue to sow the smallest of seeds and repeat the process faithfully, soon we see the effects of our small beginnings being repeated as the results become larger. As you can see, the first drops of dye had very little impact on the water, but as we repeated something began to happen. The water begins to change, a little at first, then it becomes greater and greater the more drops that are added.
Another way to look at this is thru the auspices of evangelism. Which would you take in a thirty day period?
-Billy Graham preaching and 3000 people giving their lives to Christ each night? Or
- one Christian winning one soul the first day and then those two winning two and then those four winning four and so forth and so on for thirty days?
Well at the end of 30 days, Billy Graham would have seen 1,095,000 persons come to Christ. The one-to-one method, which started small like the mustard seed would end with, hold onto your seats now, 376,870,952!
Do you know why this works? Life comes from life. The divine vitality and growth of the Christian church comes from sharing our relationship with others and submitting to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. You see, One of the first things to stir in us when we come to Christ should be the desire to see others come to Christ. Each member is a self-propagating mustard seed. For each believer is to sow and then pray for the harvest. This is the one true mission of the church and the Book of Discipline informs us that it is the local churches mission to carry out this task.