He said, “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.
He said, “To what shall we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private. ~Mark 4:26-34 (NAB-RE)
Today’s reading from Mark shows Jesus trying to teach us that great things can come from tiny little beginnings, even if you’re not sure of the steps in between. Of course, that’s really not your job to know the full process. You plant the seed, tend it and God will take care of the growing. That’s what Jesus was doing in his ministry: planting the seeds that would ripen into the kingdom of God. It started with just him and his small group of disciples… and look at it now. According to the quick internet search that I just did, almost 1/3 of the world’s population are Christians. In 2018 that equated to 2.2 billion people. Think about that fact for a minute… throughout the majority of the last 2021 years news has traveled at a very slow pace. It’s only since the onset of the internet that we can get information from across the world as it happens. So how was it that one guy could show up and seriously impact 2.2 billion people almost 2000 years later? Only God knows.
This is still happening in various ways. Think of everything that influences you or that you come into contact with on a daily basis. They all started as ideas in a person’s head and grew from there. Just because that happens, though, doesn’t mean it’s part of God’s kingdom. Anything that deals in terror, violence or evil is not of God. I’m talking about the ideas that started out small and grew into something so much bigger than the person themself. Let me give you some examples.
If you’ve read my blog Kerry’d Away then you’ve seen the blankets I’ve made for Project Linus. The first part of their mission states, “Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.” This is a national organization that donates thousands of blankets each year to help children who might be in need of a hug or something secure that they can call their own. Project Linus started when one lady, Karen Loucks, read an article about a young chemo patient who took her security blanket to each treatment and it helped her to be brave. Ms. Loucks wanted to do this for other children in her area, so she made blankets for a local Cancer Center and the organization was born. One article about one little girl planted a seed and look what grew out of it.
You might not be familiar with the company Duck Commander, but you may at least recognize the faces behind it. A few years ago the family was on A&E with their show Duck Dynasty. They were the bearded duck hunters from Louisiana and the show was very entertaining. Well, Duck Commander is the company that Phil Robertson created after inventing a duck call that actually sounded like a duck (no, that wasn’t typical at the time). The idea started as a little seed in Phil’s head. He knew that duck hunters would be more successful if the calls actually sounded like the ducks they were trying to attract to their hunting spot. With the help of his family, Phil built the calls and sold them to local sportsman’s stores. They kept plugging away and slowly the business took off. The company is very successful nowadays, but that’s not why I’m bringing them up in relation to the reading from Mark.
The Robertson family is very faithful. They are true servants of the Lord. They agreed to the A&E show because they hoped it could be a way to spread the message of Jesus as far as possible. Unfortunately, Hollywood doesn’t really like to have anything to do with God or Jesus (gee… who would have guessed) so the show was mostly about entertainment. However, they did manage to get it okayed that they could end each show with the family sitting down to a meal and saying a prayer. There’s the little seed… now, pay attention.
Fast forward to today where the Duck Dynasty show has been off the air for a few years. What has happened? Well, just like planting mint in your garden, the faith of Duck Dynasty has taken off and spread all over. I’m sure that the Robertsons truly have no idea just how many lives they’ve helped to Save (as in people coming to Jesus) or how many have found new hope in their faith. People will travel from all over the United States to go to Louisiana so that the very people who introduced them to Jesus can be the ones to baptize them. Phil and his sons, Al and Jase, also host a podcast called “Unashamed” where they talk about Jesus, the bible and other topics of faith. These guys are real and authentic, which is why so many people listen to what they have to say. God is definitely growing this plant for his kingdom, but it doesn’t stop there…
You’ve heard about the people at fast food places who pay for the person’s order in line behind them. This is commonly referred to as “paying it forward” (which really doesn’t make sense since they are actually paying it backwards…). Your hope is that by doing something like this, the person in line behind you will also want to pay it forward/backward and thus the chain keeps growing. Another advantage to being a “celebrity” is that you can pay it forward as well. If we go back to the Robertsons I want to introduce you to Jase’s daughter, Mia. She was born with a cleft palate and lip. When Jase and his wife, Missy, were trying to navigate the waters of this new territory there wasn’t a whole lot of information or resources. To fix a cleft palate requires many surgeries, treatments, and procedures. It’s unbelivable what these children (and families) go through in this process. During the run of the show Mia wanted to tell her story. Out of this sprang a desire to help others (which was already there, but now she had an outlet) and the Mia Moo Fund was born. This fund helps to inform, inspire and improve the quality of life for children with a cleft palate/lip. This organization is still growing, but they are putting out so much good in the world. And all of this started with a duck call…
You don’t need to be a billionaire to grow God’s kingdom. You don’t need a million followers on social media. You don’t even need a corporate sponsor. What you need is to plant a seed in the ground, tend it, and have faith that God will not only help it grow, but will help it to flourish. Have faith in the Lord, love Him with all of your heart and love His people. That’s all you need. The rest will take care of itself.