The mustard seed. It's a very tiny seed, but it grows to be a large shrub or even a tree in warmer climates. When Jesus told the parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13, he set before us a dynamic of the Kingdom of heaven in the world. That dynamic is basically this: the Kingdom's growth in people and the world has rather humble beginnings, but then it grows. And grows.
A child born to a carpenter and his very young wife. Twelve common men of the working class, or even from despised groups like tax collectors. Galilee, a little corner of the Roman Empire. Small, but these eventually brought Rome to its knees, quite literally as the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and declared it to be the official religion of the Empire in 312. To this day, the Kingdom starts small in tribes and among nations, but grows to become one of the greatest faiths of a people.
It is similar in our hearts and lives. The Kingdom often begins unnoticeably in us. A longing, a seeking, a hurt we can’t find healing from. But make no mistake, what God begins he will complete. Once the Kingdom takes hold of a person, eventually the Kingdom of heaven and the King of that Kingdom will dominate a person’s life.
What does this say about our mission in the world? Just that we should not expect the tree at the beginning. God’s Kingdom work often has small and seemingly insignificant beginnings. The Lord uses ordinary people like you and me. He starts a work in the despised and unrecognized places. He brings revival and renewal where no one would ever think to look for it. It’s the old “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” thing. I wonder what mighty work God might do right here in our community, and right here in and with you and me, if we believe that he can and will.
Let's plant some seeds today. And small seeds are just fine.