January 19, 2024

Not Much to Look At

Mark 4:30-32

“You gave me something to eat . . . [and] to drink, . . . you invited me in, . . . you clothed me, . . . you looked after me, . . . you came to visit me.”

—  Matthew 25:35-36

When people have a stake in something, they tend to puff it up. It’s the newest, the fastest, the brightest, the strongest. Not Jesus. He says the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.

A mustard seed is tiny. Looking at it, you wouldn’t expect it to amount to much. And like any seed, it’s dependent on outside conditions—soil, moisture, sunshine—to germinate and grow.

Farmers today plant millions of soybean seeds in a single field. They make sure to plant plenty because they know they’ll have a 20 to 30 percent loss. Home gardeners plant several squash seeds in every hill because some of those seeds may fail to germinate and some of the young plants may not mature.

But Jesus says the kingdom of God is like a single, small seed. Everything is staked on that one, tiny seed. If it fails to germinate, if it fails to grow, then all is lost. But when that one seed does sprout and grow, it becomes something far beyond its humble beginning: a safe and shady perch for a choir of songbirds.

In the same way, the kingdom of God may not look like much. But here and there, almost invisibly, it welcomes, shelters, and supports life. Maybe you’re a part of that through a local congregation. I hope so.

Lord Jesus, give us faith to see your kingdom all around us. And give us courage to make your kingdom visible, even in the smallest ways. Amen.

About the author — Bob Arbogast

Bob Arbogast is the pastor of Celebration Fellowship church in Ionia, Michigan. In his spare time, he plays guitar in a West Michigan blues band. He and his wife Jan have been married forty years and have three adult daughters. Bob has been praying the psalms since 2002.

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