January 10, 2021

From Seed to Branches

Mark 4:30-34

“What shall we say the kingdom of God is like . . . ?”

—  Mark 4:30

In January I look through seed catalogs and choose seeds to buy for planting our garden in the spring. It takes a sense of vision to see what those seeds will become. For example, no matter how closely you look at a tomato seed, you cannot actually see the plant or the fruit that it will develop. But if you plant it and it grows, after some time you will actually see the plant and its fruit.

A seed seems to make for such a small, insignificant beginning, but just planting it can lead to a dramatic transformation.

Jesus encourages his disciples not to be discouraged by the seeming insignificance of the seedlike beginning of the kingdom of God. He urges us to look beyond the mustard seed to see what happens to it. It will grow into a tall shrub that will have branches large enough to welcome and shelter birds! Amazing!

This parable offers great encouragement to Jesus’ disciples, who only later saw glimpses of what God would accomplish through the death and resurrection of Jesus: a single seed would be sown, and yet Jesus would emerge from the ground and his kingdom would begin spreading its branches everywhere so that people of all nations could enjoy its benefits.

Be encouraged, disciple of Christ! The present size of the kingdom of God is not the whole story!

Dear God, sometimes I am impatient with your kingdom not being fully grown. Thank you for its spread and for what is still yet to come! May your kingdom come fully! Amen.

About the author — Douglas MacLeod

Rev. Douglas MacLeod is a church pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has served as a pastor for over 36 years with five congregations in Michigan and Iowa. He and Cathy, his wife of 40+ years, are grateful for their three children and four grandchildren.

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