Written By Rev. Micah James

“He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” – Matthew 13:31-32

The mustard plant is an interesting plant. It is an extraordinary plant. There is so much more to the mustard plant than how big it grows.

What would a church that was a mustard plant look like? It's beautiful, it feeds the souls of those who enter, it is free of divisive or destructive forces, and its reputation is one of promise and praise in the Gospel.

Of course, I think we would get this all wrong if we made this parable about us. It is about the kingdom of God. Yes, it is about how God can use the smallest seed and turn it into something extraordinary, but there is something else. Something in the last few phrases, “the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

It doesn't just speak about the seed and its growth. It speaks of strong branches, echoing John 15:1, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” It talks about who will rest in those branches, the birds of the air, and it echoes of Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”

If we stop at to celebrate just the growth of something, then we really have missed most of the point. We also have to talk about the cultivating strong branches of faith and we have to talk about the birds that will find spiritual rest in our midst.

You cannot disconnect the soil from the seed; from the tree that sprouts from the bird that rests in the branches. This parable is only two sentences, but it speaks to the depth of the connections that are in the Kingdom of God. God planted First Christian Church for a reason.

Let's get about doing the work God has put us here to do. Following in the mustard seed’s example, we see that God has not only called us to grow, but also grow with purpose.


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