The Parable of the Growing Seed
Jesus doesn’t describe a fully grown tree landing in your life. The Kingdom is something you need to grow into.
26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.
These two parables appear together in Mark’s gospel. So I’m going to tackle them together. They also appear just after the parable of the sower and have many elements in common with it.
Firstly, don’t expect the Kingdom of God to arrive with much fanfare and shouting. In these parables, the Kingdom of God is the smallest of seeds, something that starts off invisible and hidden, buried in the earth. It grows over time, not arriving in your life fully developed. Yet when it is grown, it is ultimately a source of food and nurture for others. If we look back at the previous parable and the soil is the state of our hearts, then it shows that the word of God must be deeply rooted in our hearts to be able to grow and provide anything for others. Don’t be discouraged if you trip up on your journey. Jesus doesn’t describe a fully grown tree landing in your life. The Kingdom is something you need to grow into. That is not an excuse to be weak in the faith but a reality that we all need to continue growing in the Kingdom.
In regards to others, as Christians we can only plant seeds wherever we go. We do not know how God will use our influence. It is like the mysterious growth of the seed. It is quiet and unnoticed until the plant blooms. And it will be harvested when the time is right. Often we expect obvious changes and miracles to occur before we believe God is at work. In these parables, however, God’s kingdom is present in the slow, organic growth of a seed.
We all need to clear our fields and allow the Kingdom to grow in our lives and the lives of others. We may not realise that we are spreading the seeds of the Kingdom wherever we go but one day there will be a harvest and they will be ready. We only need to be faithful and make sure that we ourselves are bearing fruit ready for the harvest.
Dear Lord, help me to bear fruit in my life. Help me to plant your Kingdom in the lives of those around me today, and help me to be patient with them and the work you are doing in their lives. Amen.