Passage of the week: Mark 4:25-34
Jesus delighted in communicating through the use of stories. This week’s story is about faith; and about seeds. Seeds can be seen as the story of our faith, the potential for belief. And people react to that story – that I believe as truth – in different ways. Some think of it as a pretty little thing – and that’s all. Others as an outmoded relic – one of those crops that used to be grown that has outlived its usefulness. Some will take it for a while and think about it. Some will see it as a weed and reject it. Some will plant it. Others will squash it under foot.
As Christians, the seed of faith is something that we carry inside us. What happens to that is up to us and up to God. If we want that faith to grow, we have to be prepared to put in some work – to plant it, nurture it, water it, allow God to work on it. Jesus sees us not just as we are now, but as the people we can become. He knows our background, our problems. He knows what we need before we do. He recognizes the seeds inside of us, and what needs to be done to make them grow… if we let him. Sometimes seeds die. They seem to start off ok, but they come into contact with the wrong soil, or the wrong temperature. Sometimes they are not fed enough. Sometimes they are choked by other plants. We need to look at where we are planted, and assess it. Is what we do really the best thing for us? How do the people we mix with influence our lives? How do we influence theirs? Are we thinking of what is best for them, or just for us? Sometimes the strongest plants are those which have fought through the difficulties, or those which have been transplanted into a different soil. Nurturing our faith is hard work. We have to break through the shell of who we were to become the tree we are meant to be.
So that’s task one. Task two is our responsibility to produce seeds, to plant seeds in others. To tell the story, walk the walk. To change the world by our faith and belief in God. To bring about the kingdom of God. A place of love and understanding, mercy and forgiveness. We tend to think of it was an overwhelming task. It’s not. It starts with the small things. Jesus said the kingdom of God is like the mustard seed. The kingdom of God works, God works, with the little things. The signs of God’s kingdom are not the big things, but the small, ordinary things. The words we say, the way we act and react, the way we respond. When we give someone a lift, when we listen with patience; and wash the dishes ; when we hug and laugh and pray ; all these little things are God’s work. All of these are seeds being planted. Out of them grows the kingdom of God, and without them there is nothing.
Nuture the seeds inside of you. Bear fruit, plant more seeds. And bring about the kingdom of love, mercy, justice and peace.