Bible Society of South Africa

Growth: Do you offer shade to others? – 23 March 2023

By Charlea Grey

Bible text(s)

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 4:31-32GNBOpen in Bible reader

Our family lives on the edge of a large conservation area, a green strip with ponds and enormous eucalyptus trees that must be very old. Apart from the eucalyptus trees, there is a wide variety of trees and bushes in the park, and guinea fowls regularly gather under the trees.

In the late afternoon, when my husband and I sit on our porch and look out over the park, we see large flocks of birds fly past us like arrows, on their way to their nests in the tall trees. And sometimes, late at night, when I lie awake (after the pyjama drill), I hear an owl calling.

In this parable in Mark, Jesus explains what it will be like when God is king. Here, we get the wonderful picture of a giant tree that is a home for all the birds, just like the trees in the conservation area.

And aren’t trees just wonderful? Besides the branches providing a home for birds and many other small animals, some trees also provide food in the form of seeds or fruit. Then, of course, there is the wonderful shade against the sun. (By the way, food tastes much better to me if you can eat it in the shade of a big tree. That is why I love picnics.)

Earlier in the week, we read that we must be trees that bear good fruit. Shouldn’t we also be trees that offer shade to other people? A safe place, a resting place, even if only temporarily. As God’s children, we can make a difference with our words and actions, and bring relief to people when it is needed.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that we can look at nature to try to understand how wonderful your kingdom and love are. Help me to offer shade, like a tree, to people who need it, so that they too can experience your love and goodness through me. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.19.1
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