The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Parable of the Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:31-32 31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32 which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (NKJV)

Jesus liked to speak in parables (Matthew 13:34) because it helped to relate a greater truth through a parallel story.  He knew that the concept of heaven, or anything spiritual for that matter, was a difficult thing to grasp for the people of that time.  It can also be difficult for us too, even with our advanced education and knowledge.  Because the primary occupations were either farming or shepherding, Jesus tended to include most of his analogies along those lines.  In those days, farming meant eating.  No crop meant no food.  No food meant starvation.  It could also mean no food for the livestock, which would also mean starvation for years to come.  There was no local grocery store to simply run to.

Today, we live a non-agricultural society, so it can be hard to understand some of the concepts He was trying to convey.  This was His third parable on farming (the first being the Sower, the second being the wheat and tares – each conveying a different point).  I grew up with my grandfather having a small farm, so there are some impressions here to realize.

First, to be a farmer, you must be a hard worker.  To till the soil to prepare it for the seed, to pull the weeds and guard against animals that would harm the garden, then to harvest your work, can be extremely exhausting.  Second, you must be patient.  The fruit of the soil does not grow overnight, but there is a lot of working going on in the ground.  It does not just appear out of the ground, but takes time.  And thirdly, it takes faith.  Faith in knowing the work done will yield results, faith in knowing that there are things happening unseen, but they are still happening (Heb. 11:1).

When looking at this parable, we know that Jesus uses the example of a mustard seed – an extremely small seed.  Yet, He compares it to the Kingdom of Heaven!  In another parable, He used the mustard seed as an example of a measure of faith (Matt. 17:20).  After planting by the Sower, it becomes a great plant, so great that is used by the birds for nesting.  Mustard plants can grow up to 10 feet tall, as high as a basketball goal.  Something so small becomes great.

When God places Himself in us, it has potential to become great.  So great, that people are drawn to it (remember the birds?) and become comfortable, or live, there!  Birds build their nests where there is safety from predators.  When we are fully realized in Him, people come to what God has done in us.  They are drawn to what God has produced.

For any plant, the components of growth are the right mixture of three things:  soil, rain, and light.  In soil, the right mixture of gases and nutrients help keep the plant rooted and promote initial growth.  So the Word of God does for us – it is sharper than any two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12), and is also profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16).  The rain helps provide water, which all living things require to survive.  The rain is symbolic of the Holy Spirit in that without it, we become arid and dry.  With it, we become fully alive and nourished.  The rain also enriches the soil, as does the Holy Spirit with the Word, giving us understanding of deeper truths.  Finally, the light represents God’s presence in our lives.  Jesus said He is the Light of the World.  When He is with us, it shows.  When a plant receives light, photosynthesis occurs, and growth happens.

Are you producing what God has placed in you?  Are others drawn to what He has done in you?  Let the Spirit of God have his way in your life, and watch what happens!  Where once there was something small, now stands a giant!

 

Are you producing what God has placed in you?  Are others drawn to what He has done in you?  Let the Spirit of God have his way in your life, and watch what happens!  Where once there was something small, now stands a giant!

Are you producing what God has placed in you?  Are others drawn to what He has done in you?  Let the Spirit of God have his way in your life, and watch what happens!  Where once there was something small, now stands a giant!