Mark 4:30-32

30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 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.”

How quaint. The Kingdom of God is like a beautiful shrub that grows into a tree to give shade.

Make no mistake. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. Pliny the Elder, an ancient Roman naturalist, said that mustard is “fiery, pungent, and destructive.” The Kingdom of God is fiery, pungent, and destructive. Our relationship with God burns away our sinful desires. Compared to the luxuries of this life, the Kingdom of God is pungent and seems to be an onerous way of life. And yes, the Kingdom of God is destructive. The kingdoms that we build for ourselves come tumbling down when faced with the good news of Jesus.

Look at your own life as a garden. What aspects of your life are mustard, a shrub that chokes out the other plants that you are cultivating? What parts of your life are like the weeds that need to be pulled out? In what way is your life creating shade for others to rest?

The Rev. Jimmy Abbott