By Lisa Huddleston
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It’s the smallest of all the seeds, but when grown, it’s taller than the vegetables and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches” (Matt. 13:31-32).
Good things come in small packages—a saying that is often quoted but only sometimes true. In the case of the mustard seed mentioned in the scripture above, it is true. A tiny mustard seed will always grow into a tall, branching plant. And the kingdom of heaven which began with only Jesus and a small group of followers has blossomed into a vast and still reproducing multitude of believers from every tribe and every nation. Many from just One seed. As in the case of the mustard plant and also the kingdom of heaven (and really of all living organisms), it is the seed that is the determining factor. The seed that defines what will grow. Plant a mustard seed. Harvest a mustard plant. Plant a seed of Grace and Hope. Harvest a Kingdom of Heaven. A very simple truth that we can understand and celebrate. God’s perfect economy of reproduction. All contained in a seed.
Yet, as in most things, there is a shadowy side to this sunny message. An ungodly yin to the godly yang, so to speak. Because we can always choose to plant a bad seed. “The one who sows injustice will reap disaster” (Pr. 22:8). “Those who sow trouble reap the same” (Job 4:8). “For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit” (Gal. 6:7-8). It’s all about the seed.
Okay then. What seeds am I holding in my hand today? Honestly, it’s mixed bag. I definitely have a few pumpkin-sized seeds of Worry, a couple of yellow kernels of Selfishness, and a whole handful of grainy Pride. And, oh yes, there’s the deliberate, tuberous bulbs of Fraud and Deceit protruding above the floating, voluntary, dandelion-seeds of Doubt. But, look a little closer, take your finger and move all that other stuff around. Do you see it? There it is, barely visible in the mishmash, but still there. A tiny, white pearl of Faith from which will grow the power to move mountains.
One little speck in the midst of all those other seeds. Yet, it holds the power to change my world. “I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matt. 17:20). Maybe a better visual for those of us living in the south is a kudzu seed—minus its destructive aspects—because once that seed starts to grow it covers all the other plants and smoothes the landscape into one, sloping mountain of green. A questionable example from an earthly gardener’s perspective, but a great spiritual metaphor for the power of faith to change our lives.
Yes. It all depends on the seeds. Some that we deliberately plant and others that we allow to haphazardly blow into the soil of our lives. Not a random strewing of handfuls of unidentified grains, but a careful planting in spirit and truth. Don’t forget—it truly is all about the seed. Open your hand and take a look. What seeds are you holding today?