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January 9, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“What can we say the kingdom of God is like? How shall we put it in a parable? It is like a tiny grain of mustard-seed which, when it is sown, is smaller than any seed that is ever sown. But after it is sown in the earth, it grows up and becomes bigger than any other plant. It shoots out great branches so that birds can come and nest in its shelter.”—Mark 4:30–32 (PHILLIPS)
I’ve never been much of a plant guy. I don’t have the patience, care, and dedication for planting and cultivating a flower, tree, or anything like that. It takes too long before you see results. But for those who do, the end result is such a beautiful, amazing thing!
My wife, for instance, enjoys it. When we lived in a home that had an area for a garden, she planted tomatoes, peppers, and a few herbs. A few months later, we were making pesto from the basil she had planted and cultivated, and let me tell you something—it was GOOD! Her work produced amazing results that I, and a few other people, were able to enjoy and experience the fruit of her labor.
In today’s parable, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a mustard seed. He compares it to a small, tiny seed that is sown and eventually grows into something truly spectacular. Here’s the thing; this work could not be done by just anyone. It couldn’t be done by me, because I am not qualified. It couldn’t be done by any of us! Not Moses, nor Abraham, nor David, nor Adam. Only One could be the sower of this seed; only One could do the work of growing this seed. That One? Jesus Christ, the Son of Man! He came and planted the seed of the kingdom, He cultivated it with His perfect life, and fertilized it with His own blood. And from His work, from His devotion, care, and love, the kingdom of God sprouted a tree on the earth the likes of which have never ever been seen before!
The seed our Lord Jesus planted in the world has cultivated and grown through Him. It has, as it says in Acts 17:6 (NKJV), “turned the world upside down.” But the story is not over yet, my friends! Just as the seed of the Church has grown in the world, the seed of His Word and work has grown in our hearts and has produced amazing fruit in our lives. And right now, God wants to use us to continue to make it grow in the world. He wants to use us to expand His kingdom, to grow His family, and to give shelter and a dwelling place to flocks of lost seekers. I pray we will be a people who faithfully carry that call and allow ourselves to be used by the Lord to grow the seed of the Church around the world.
PAUSE: Why does Jesus compare the kingdom of God to a tree? How have you seen the fruit of the kingdom Jesus planted take root in your life?
PRACTICE: Pray about one person this week that you can plant the seed of the gospel in his or her life.
PRAY: Father, thank You for the seed of the gospel that was planted in my heart that has grown and continues to grow. I ask You today, Lord, how to use me to plant the seed of the gospel in the lives of others that they may experience all that I have experienced by knowing You. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.