Scripture: He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 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."--Mark 4:26-32
Have you ever given a thought to how Jesus must have felt during his short ministry? He was always the outsider, the newbie; he must have always had butterflies in his stomach!
One way that Jesus drew new groups of people to him was to speak to them in parables. They were not new in Jesus’ day, the Jewish Law Professors had been teaching Midrash, or stories with a moral point, for centuries. The form however, was perfected by Jesus. If he saw a group of farmers standing in the square complaining about their crops, he spun the Parable of the Sower – got them to thinking, first about why their own crops weren’t producing their maximum, then about their own lives. Maybe he overheard a group of women talking about the mystery of life, of creation itself the day he made up today’s lesson. He looked at their hands and also knew that they dug in the dirt, probably in the house gardens they grew to feed their families, so he answered their creation questions by talking about the mystery of a seed growing into a grain stalk, and again, when he described the fascinating drama of the mustard tree’s growth. Maybe some of them just thought about their gardens -- others took his message to mean that they should grind more condiments for their households -- but those to whom God sent the Word began to see more, deeper meanings in what he said -- meanings which began to change their lives.
When we master our butterflies and encounter those to whom God sends us we find that he gives us just what and how to speak. So don’t fret when God sends you out of your comfort zone to “sow seeds” – just sow your seeds into the lives of those to whom God sends you and trust that through the power of the Holy Spirit, your message will be sufficient for the situation.
We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land, climb the mountains, cross the waves;
Onward! 'tis our Lord's command; Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Prayer: Mighty God, get us out of our own way so that we can share your message with others boldly, when you send us. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.
The Rev. Dr. Cynthia McCullough