God Starts Small
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
In one of Jesus’s most well-known parables, He compares the growth of God's kingdom with that of a mustard seed. Mustard seeds are small. In fact, they are hardly noticeable. It takes 21,000 mustard seeds, for instance, to make an ounce. That said, overtime mustard trees grow quite large. So large, in fact, that even birds build their nests in them.
Jesus's disciples also know something about being small and insignificant. Jesus Himself began His ministry with humble beginnings. Church history also bears witness to this. Despite its small and insignificant beginnings, the Kingdom of God grew massively. Within a single generation after Christ's death, Christianity had spread all over the Roman Empire and beyond: to India in the East, Ethiopia to the South and Britain to the West. What began as a small Jewish sect in a remote Roman province grew into one of the most influential forces the world has ever seen. Not only that, but there are countless examples of the church establishing hospitals, orphanages and universities. In addition, today, the Christian Church is still the largest provider of healthcare and education in the world. Not bad, huh?
The Parable of the Mustard Seed should be of great encouragement to us because it shows us that God can and often does work through small beginnings. We might say that God is in the business of taking small things and turning them into powerful things.
We live in a culture that tells us that bigger is better. Yet Jesus tells us that the best things start small. This is an important reminder given our need to worship at home this year. Yet don’t let these small gatherings fool you. Remember that over time, small things often grow bigger. And so it is with God’s kingdom; and so it is with our church. So let us continue to cultivate and grow our faith and see what God will do. I have a feeling that God has great things in store for us at St. Martin’s—things we might not expect, but things that will enliven our faith and bring blessing to those around us.