Mark 4:30-32

I’ve always thought about that famous tiny mustard seed in Jesus’ parable as something to possess and protect. I imagine holding it in my hand, then clenching my fist around it so tightly that I won’t lose it. But as I grow in my understanding of the Gospel, I realize that holding onto things is never the message Jesus offers us.

The seed is only useful once we plant it, once we let go of it, once we entrust it to God’s process that leads to new life. To activate this tiny, insignificant ball of potential energy we must place it in a hospitable environment. And once there, it grows into a mighty bush that offers shade and shelter. 

I no longer believe the mustard seed is something we possess. I believe it is something we are. By the Spirit’s gracious work, goodness and power reside inside us so that, when we are planted in a hospitable environment, we have the opportunity to grow and flourish as part of God’s great landscape. Others benefit from our God-given strength. They take refuge in our shade and delight in our beauty. We can be a rest stop for them or a re-fueling station they discover on their way to God. 

And though these “birds” are only passing through, our presence and participation in this mysterious process of growing God’s kingdom means something that we often don’t understand except in looking back. 


Looking back on my life, who has offered me shelter and shade in my journey toward God? How am I offering protection and encouragement to others on their journeys toward God?


Nurturing God, thank you for the shelter and shade you offer me. Even as I fly towards you, keep me rooted and grounded, open and available so that I might bless and nurture others as they pass my way on their way to you. Amen.

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