Tuesday, June 9th, Mark 4:30-32

He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?  It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”  Mark 4:30-32


Maverick Welsh (his real name) is running for a city council position in my old neighborhood in Houston.  He has spent his working career as a history teacher at Jeff Davis High School.  I was just at a meeting across the street from that school last Saturday at Iglesia Evangelica Luterana El Buen Pastor, one of our Latino congregations in town.


One of the stories that he has been telling on the stump is about an email that he received from a fellow teacher in the Houston Independent School District.  She wrote to thank him for the encouragement he had given her.  It seems that one day, many years before, a young girl who came to Welsh at school one day, distraught that she had found out she was pregnant.  She feared her life was over.


Welsh listened to her story and then assured her that her life wasn’t over at all.  She still had a world of opportunities open to her.  He told her what a good student she was and suggested that she consider a career in education.  He told her how helpful it was to be a teacher who shared the same vacation schedule with her child and how teaching would give her a platform to help other young people make good decisions.


And that is how this planting of seeds works.  Often so secretly, so mysteriously.  A word here.  A loving deed there.  A firm correction and a hard dose of reality and a reminder of grace sprinkled in along the way.


Isn’t that how it has worked along the way for us?  We get discouraged and then something happens, or someone happens along, and we remember who we are and Whose we are.  Our faith seems so whispy and weak and then we find it carrying us through troubled waters we never saw coming.


From one strange character who upset everyone’s apple cart to eleven terrified guys hiding out in an upper room to thousands coming into a faith that would sweep the world.  In the big picture, and in the smallest detail like a snippet of consoling conversation that resets a child’s path in life, the Spirit takes the smallest of seeds and grows it into a work of beauty.


You and I have had those seeds planted deeply into the loam of our lives.  The harvest comes when we plant them in others.


Let us pray:  Dear Lord, your eyes are on the sparrows, the smallest and most intimate details and corners of our lives.  Save us from discouragement and short-sightedness as we live as your seed-planting people.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


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