Small Beginnings

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin..." Zechariah 4:10a

Again Jesus tells a story to illustrate the Kingdom of God. The smallest of seeds in its beginning, it grows into the largest plant in the garden, its branches reaching out in a gracious welcome providing a place of shelter, a home, a resting place. Such is the Kingdom of God as it grows within us. The Spirit enlarges our heart and our capacity to become a place of welcome, safety and refuge for others. Do not despise these small beginnings.

Mark 4:30-34 (NLT)

Parable of the Mustard Seed
Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it?  It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”

Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.

For Reflection and Prayer:
What phrase or word spoke to you as you listened/read?
What kind of seed is growing within you?
How would you describe the Kingdom of God in your life?
What message do you hear God speaking to you through this text?

The Kingdom of God is Like...

Jesus often used parables to put words around a concept that went beyond a definition into meaning that was much deeper. In this parable we wonder, “What is this seed that is scattered that seems to grow without external effort?” Could this seed be the Spirit of God? Could this seed be desire for God planted within us? Could this seed be love and compassion that grows within us and is readied to be harvested to nourish and sustain others?

All reflect the Kingdom of God and the reign of Christ that grows within our hearts and souls, becoming that which matures within us, meant to flow out into the world. As you sit with the following passage reflect on what stands out to you through the words and voice of Christ.

Mark 4:26-29

Parable of the Growing Seed

Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

•    What did you hear as you listened/read?  What stood out to you?
•    What do you hear that helps you understand more of what the Kingdom of God is like?
•    What do you notice about God’s grace in this passage?