Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Tiny Seed

Why did Jesus choose to use the tiny mustard seed in His parable? Why not an acorn or other seed that produces a grand shade tree?

Sometimes when I'm reading the bible, I get "stuck" on certain parts, and just sit on them for awhile. The parable of the mustard seed was one such parable. I had been studying the sower and the seed and found myself wondering why the kingdom of God was compared to a mustard seed instead of say, an acorn. Luke 8: 11, when explaining the sower and the seed, says "Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God." Why didn't it make a distinction when comparing the seed with the word of God, but it did specify the type of seed in the parable of the mustard seed?


Here are the three versions so that you can easily read them:

Matthew 13: 31-32
He presented another parable to them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."

Mark 4: 30-32
And He said, "How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade."

Luke 13: 18-19
So He was saying, "What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches."

Here are some things I see right away:
  • The seed that Jesus chose to use to compare it to the kingdom of God is tiny! Why?
  • It is a garden plant, or in other words isn't wild--it's purposefully planted.
  • and in Luke, the man planted it in his own garden
  • The mustard seed starts off tiny but ends up large
I know all this is obvious, but sometimes it helps to just jot down the obvious to make sure your brain really takes hold of it, ya know?

Anyway, I prayed for a while about why it was a mustard seed. Why didn't God compare it to an acorn that becomes a great oak or a fruit tree's seed that produces apples or something?

I know...I'm a little weird in how I think...but stay with me for a minute.

So, one day, a few weeks after I had prayed about this little curiosity, I got an answer!

My husband's aunt was sweeping her enormous porch while we were staying with them, and she just casually mentioned that if she didn't sweep often enough, those little bitty seeds would ruin her porch. I perked up and asked her to explain. She had an enormous porch...one that was well made, strong and beautiful. It went from her back door, the length of the back of her house and all the way around the pool. This was no easy chore. So she explained.

Seeds would blow around her back yard from her garden, and the tiniest ones would settle between the cracks. If they were permitted to remain where they were, soil would settle in, roots would grow, and it would actually crack the foundation of that well built porch. The bigger seeds were no worry since they wouldn't fit in the cracks, but the tiny seeds were a bother.

Wow! Amazing. There was a reason the seeds were tiny!

In the next few weeks, I heard a sermon on the hardened heart. That was the ah ha moment for me! The Lord quietly whispered to my heart..."That's why the seed of the kingdom is so tiny".

There's not much that can grow in a rock! But, God made sure that even the hardest of hearts would be able to accept the kingdom of God.

Do you see it?
Not every seed of the word of God is tiny. There are some real "walnut" seeds in there, if you catch my drift. But...what a miracle it is for an unbeliever to accept and believe the words of God! You see, the bigger seeds roll right off the hardened heart, but not so with the tiny ones. The tiny ones slip between the tiniest crack of the hardest hearted person. That tiny seed, if left alone, will collect soil and moisture...and will start to break apart the rock hard heart. Once the seeds of the kingdom of God break the hardened heart and begin the process of softening...only then can that heart accept bigger seeds.

Jesus spread these seeds to whoever would listen. Then Jesus taught his disciples how to spread seeds. After Jesus's death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit came and then the church began to grow. It started with one man, Jesus (a very small beginning), but became enormous. Today, these seeds that Jesus first planted are still being spread. They are the Gospel--the good news!

A broken heart isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes, God is breaking our hearts for a reason.

Is your heart broken today or seems to be breaking a lot lately?

Could God be breaking your heart (or mine) to make room for bigger seeds? Maybe you've already accepted the seeds of the kingdom, but God's preparing your heart for a bigger, meatier seed. What if a broken heart is the only way for our hearts to be prepared for those bigger seeds?

Or, maybe you've never accepted Christ into your heart. Is your heart breaking lately and you just don't understand why?

In these parables there was something interesting in Luke. The man threw the seed into his own garden! Maybe you've been given a seed. Maybe there's been a verse or passage of scripture you've heard lately that's breaking your heart. If so, you have two things that you could do with the seed.

You can reject it.
I've realized over my years as a Christian, that the times in my life that I experienced the most growth and change were in seasons of pain. Is God calling you through a broken heart? It's entirely possible. Sometimes I grow through it and sometimes I just get mad at what I'm going through and stay in pain. If you chose to reject it, that doesn't mean the pain will just go away. God wants you--He's jealous for you! And He loves you enough to prepare your heart for the seed that will change the rest of your eternity. There are many many people that reject Jesus. I hope that rejecting God's calling isn't the choice you make.

You can plant the seed.
The mustard seed is a garden seed. It's not going to accidentally fall in and grow. You have to decide to throw it in your garden. What exactly do I mean?
Let's say, for example, that you've heard a verse that caught your attention. That small little passage of scripture is a mustard seed. Maybe it makes you mad. Or maybe it makes you cry. Maybe you just can't stop thinking about it. You now possess the seed. You hold it in your hand. It's been given to you to do with what you want to. You can throw it away or you can take it into your heart.

So...if I decide to plant it how does that work?
It's almost impossible to see a seed grow when it's underground, and there's certainly nothing you can do to force it to grow. The man in the parable just simply tossed it in. See, you don't have to do anything accept drop it on in. Your heart is the soil, so that's where you drop it. I believe you plant it the moment you ask God to help you understand it and then continue to read (or in some cases, listen to) it and keep searching for understanding. I think that the plants that you see as a result of God's seeds are unbelief growing into belief. When you look at a tiny seed, you can't even imagine what it will become (unbelief), but as it grows you begin to see it more and more until you see clearly (belief).

Jeremiah 29: 13
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Salvation is a free gift from God. It isn't offered to a select, special group of people. It is offered to everyone. It is offered to you.
You can't, no matter how hard you try, make a seed out of nothing--just as you can't, no matter how hard you try, get to heaven on your own understanding or good works. But, if someone hands you a seed, you aren't forced to plant it either, are you? You could plant it and reap the benefits or you could toss it aside. You can accept God's salvation, Jesus Christ, or you could ignore it. It's up to you.

What will you do with your seed?



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