Bible Society of South Africa
Frank Retief

Remember his strength – Day 5

Unexpected consequences

Bible text(s)

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30“What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like?” asked Jesus. “What parable shall we use to explain it? 31It is like this. A man takes a mustard seed, the smallest seed in the world, and plants it in the ground. 32After a while it grows up and becomes the biggest of all plants. It puts out such large branches that the birds come and make their nests in its shade.”

Mark 4:30-32GNBOpen in Bible reader

Sometimes, small words and actions can have very large consequences. We are all familiar with this rule of life. It is exactly this principle of unexpected consequences that Jesus uses in this parable.

The parable Jesus told would probably have sounded ridiculous to his listeners. In fact, I suspect we often miss the shocking impact of the things Jesus said, because we are unfamiliar with the background and customs of his day.

Everybody knew that a mustard seed grew only to a medium sized garden shrub and the idea of the birds of the air perching in its shade would have been laughable. However, Jesus deliberately intended to exaggerate the power of the shrub to make an important point. God can take the tiniest beginning, no matter how unsuited it may be, and use everything and everyone to do more work for his kingdom than its size warrants.

That is the way it is with the kingdom of God. A little seed dropped here or there and the next thing you know, there is a Sunday School where there was none before or somebody who had no hope is helped, or some lost soul finds the Saviour and a life is changed.

The idea of the birds of the air all crowding to sit on the shrub’s branches may have occasioned laughter by those who heard Jesus, because it seemed so unlikely. But think of how many people you know who have been helped by someone they least expected. Possibly, even in your own life, what you thought was your very weak faith in Jesus and great ignorance of the Bible, was nevertheless overruled so that many people have been helped and encouraged by you.

We should never despise the day of small things. Always be ready to speak a word for the Lord or to show somebody kindness. You never know what that may lead to, or what blessings may flow into someone else’s life.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.8
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