Mark 4:26-34 (NRSV)
26 He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come." 30 He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." 33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
One of the places we visited as a family when dad was a missionary to the Quechan Indians in Yuma, California was the Sequoia National Forest in Sierra, Nevada. We saw five of the largest trees in the world during our visit. The picture shows us standing near the General Sherman Sequoia, the tallest, widest and longest-lived tree in the world. It's hard to imagine a tree as large as the General Sherman, beginning its life some 2,500 years ago as a small seedling the size of your little finger.
Big things usually have small beginnings. As the ancient proverb says, "From small beginnings come great things." Jesus is an observer of nature and the images that He uses in his parables and stories, for the most part, come from the natural world. At one point, Jesus says there is no human glory that can begin to match the wonder of the created world: "Consider the lilies of the field, He says, "how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (Matthew 6:28-29). Jesus talks about mountains, sheep and shepherds, birds, serpents, rivers, flowers, farmers who till the soil, and the sea. In this morning's parable, He talks about the smallest of seeds and how it produces one of the largest shrubs.
The point being, that huge harvests come from small seeds. We cannot predict the outcome of something by its size. Even a small faith can have tremendous outcomes-even to the point of moving mountains as Jesus tells His disciples in the Gospel of Matthew, "For truly I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you" (Matthew 17:20-21). Think about it.
See you in Worship this Sunday.