We are not a very agricultural society. I have a few shrubberies in my yard that I pretend to maintain.
Aside from that I can speak knowledgeably on very little that has to do with plants, seeds, and how they grow. I imagine most people reading this can relate.
When Jesus described the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew 13:31-32 he said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
Now, the mustard seed is small, but it is not, from a strictly scientific perspective, the smallest of all seeds. Jesus was not speaking scientifically, he was using imagery to make a point. The mustard seed is indeed very small.
Because I am not very familiar with agriculture, I spent many years not knowing that there is no such thing as a mustard tree — at least not one that grows from a mustard seed (there are mustard trees that are named such because they are mustard-yellow in appearance).
In fact, mustard “plants” cannot be confused with trees at all.
There’s a lot to be gleaned from this parable. Pun intended — sort of. But the thing that strikes me most about the parable of Kingdom and the Mustard Seed is that the Kingdom of Heaven is a much bigger deal than I can ever imagine.
In my corner of the Kingdom, things can seem pretty small. Yes, I hear about what’s happening to the Church around the world, but I don’t feel connected.
This parable shows me that we are linked together as Christians on a spiritual level that is incomprehensible. We can love each other and pray for one another and it actually mean something even if we’re separated by distance, language, culture, customs, or even sensibilities.
Citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven is a big deal. It makes you part of a giant community. And, unlike citizenship in the kingdoms of Earth, Kingdom Citizenship is offered freely to everybody. Yes, even you.
The citizenry of the Kingdom of Heaven is made up exclusively of people who are imperfect — people who were all at one time enemies of God. People who have sinned and sometimes still stumble. But the cost of citizenship has been paid by its King — Jesus Christ. Sin demands that a price be paid; the price of sin is death. So Jesus, having taken on the sins of the world, died for us. Yes, for you too. After he died, Jesus spent three days in the grave and then was resurrected from the dead.
There are two things you can do right now. One is to celebrate your citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven. Thank God that you’re included!
The second is to become a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. The process is deceptively simple: confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9).