A couple of weeks ago, an email was sent to our team of writers at work about the importance of space. I mean literally, the space on a document. Writers were inadvertently adding an extra space between two different portions of text, and this extra space was adding lots of extra steps for our loaders who take our curriculum from Word documents to online content. Just adding one extra space to the text made tons of extra work for the loaders. Something I didn’t even think about was adding time, effort, and frustration to someone else. Space matters. Who knew?
As I considered the idea that inadvertently hitting the “return” key one extra time would add so much work for someone else, it dawned on me that the converse is true, too. Little things can make a big difference, for good or for ill. Jesus talked about this in the parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13.
Notice how Jesus says that the seed of the mustard plant will grow taller than any garden plant. That’s because it’s a weed. Mustard is an invasive plant, like dandelions or clover. Once it takes root, it just keeps on spreading until the entire field or yard is covered. Most gardeners want to cut out invasive weeds before they get started, but Jesus compares the entire kingdom of heaven to a weed. Jesus tells his followers that the kingdom of heaven is something that, once it takes root, will spread like wildfire throughout the land. Unlike weeds, God’s kingdom isn’t coming to choke the life from the garden, but to give new life. See how the mustard plant becomes a place where other creatures can come and nest. In this way, the kingdom of God nurtures. It replaces what is with something that is bigger and brighter and more inviting.
Jesus continued his discourse on mustard in Matthew 17. The disciples had just failed in their attempt to force a demon out of a boy and they asked Jesus what they had done wrong. Jesus replied, you didn’t have enough faith. But he doesn’t leave it at that. He goes on to further rebuke their lack of faith by telling them that if they had had the faith of even a mustard seed, they would have been successful. What Jesus was really saying to his disciples was, “Guys…you’re not even trying.” Had they utilized any of the power that Jesus made available to them, they would have been able to do far more than they could ever imagine. A little faith can go a long way…but we have to utilize it.
Just like the mustard seed, a little faith can turn into a full-grown plant that, once rooted, spreads rapidly throughout our communities. Jesus calls us, like his followers, to be like weeds. We are to spread the kingdom of God wherever we are, and we often do this by small acts of faith. Something as simple as taking a loaf of fresh baked bread to a neighbor can open the door to spreading the love of God to those around us. That’s because once we start acting, others start acting, too. You take a loaf of bread to your neighbor. Your neighbor sends an encouraging note to a co-worker. Your neighbor’s co-worker makes some extra time for his son. And that son helps another student who is struggling at school. You get the idea. Mustard plants spread. Small acts make a big difference. And, if we do it all as an act of faith, God moves mountains.
This week, ask God what small acts you can do to make a big difference for his kingdom. Remember….
Blessings and Peace,