Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32 (NKJV)
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
The Parable of the Mustard Seed is the third parable told by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew. Mark and Luke tell of it also.
Mark 4: 30-32
Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”
Then He said, “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 put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”
I’m a family history enthusiast. I began researching my dad’s roots when I was a young mother, so many years ago I don’t even want to number them. Seizing the small window of time available to me, I went to my grandma and got as much info as I could from her. We sat down with all of her old photos and I asked who the people were in them, and then we wrote their names on the backs of all that didn’t already have them, so this precious information would not be lost with her passing.
I’ve learned so much about my family, and my country’s history in the process of my research as well, and grown to love my heritage, even though there’s not anyone of any great wealth or affluence or notoriety really in the lot of us. I come from Quakers, who came to this country seeking religious freedom, and poor folk thrown into prison in England for stealing – who came to this country as indentured servants to pay off their crime. Members of my family have served this great country in every single American war, not to mention a few lesser known regional squabbles. They were farmers, chasing their dreams by land runs, and pioneering folk traveling westward-ho in covered wagons. Some chased after gold with a gold pan. Some delivered supplies to those chasing after gold. And some swung a pickaxe in the gold mines owned by wealthy tycoons. Some delivered mail. Some built railroad tracks. Some raised cattle. Some taught school and some preached. Some tended commissaries and grain elevators. It is a colorful and magnificent story – every one of them.
Magnificent and great like this story told by Jesus, because Jesus’ story tells us that as each of our families started with small seeds on a new continent and grew so big that there is no way to number all of us now, so our Lord’s kingdom began with small seeds, sown by Him into brave apostles, and then by their works has grown into a mighty family tree that includes peoples from every tribe and tongue and race and nation – Jew first, and then the rest of us grafted in.
Maybe you’ve been relocated to a place far from family. Take heart that our God has planted you and wants you to grow and blossom and flourish right where you are now. As long as there is a church and people of faith, you will always be close to family. Go and plug-in.
Maybe you are in the same old town you grew up in, that your parents grew up in, that your grandparents grew up in, and are surrounded by almost nothing but family. Celebrate, cultivate, love the ones you’re with. Cherish that family bond. Lift each other up. Pour your heart into the children and let them see the wonderful heritage that they have been born into. Celebrate the marriages, and the new births. God is making you into a beautiful family tree and if grafted into His family tree, is truly a magnificent thing.
Maybe tragedy struck when you were a child and the only family you had were taken from you? God will never leave you an orphan. He puts the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6). He will graft you into His giant tree with people who will love you, and welcome you, and He will bring you in to be a part of the giant family of God forever. All you have to do is ask Him in, and that tiny seed will grow from you and become a beautiful tree.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for your love and your amazing grace and mercy to make a way for those of us who choose You to have a place in Your great family tree. Help us to grow, and sow those seeds forward while we are here on earth, that our branches will reach into heaven. Your kingdom come, my Lord! IJN Amen.
Don’t put His love upon a shelf…
…plant it, and see what a mighty tree it becomes!