///// An IronMen Moment /////
(For passing along to men and young men in your life.)
Growing Mustard Seeds
Ever had an older sibling give you the elbow and say, "Ah, grow up?" Maybe you were goofing off in front of a camera one day. Or someone thought you were being a pest at the moment. Or -- how about this one: one of mine -- I actually WAS being an irritant to someone! And later, I realized: "I really need to grow up. What was I thinking?"
There is a story told about growth that involves the smallest of garden seeds, the Mustard seed. Listen to how Jesus put it:
Matthew 13: 31, 32, esv.
"He put another parable before them, saying, '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'.”
Lets consider some elements of the story:
1. What is sowing? Sowing is receiving the Gospel in your soul, sowing the Scriptures in your mind and heart. The field is your soul. The seed is God's input in your life (seed in the soil, so to speak). At first, it's the Good News of your pardon before God. Complete, total, and permanent forgiveness. Including open access to the throne of God in prayer. It's a personal parable, about you and His gifts, you and Him.
2. The "birds of the air" are other people. Those who come into your sphere of influence. Your "branches" describe that influence. More importantly, those extending branches are a picture of the strong support your faith has on others around you. Sometimes we don't even realize the impact we are having, but our quiet faith in God, those ever-expanding branches of contact with others, invites them to "Come and see." To ask for the reason for your quiet spirit, your simple faith, and the basis for your trust (I Peter 3:15).
• Those exposed to the Gospel and respond to it don't sit idle, in a static state. They grow. Naturally, as a consequence of having God's truth inside of them. It's one of the reasons why our IronMen Creed includes Philippians 1:6, "that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion" (esv).
• If you have received the Gospel in faith, and you don't see that growth, don't be discouraged. This parable may be a nudge from the Lord to reflect on your faith-walk, to possibly ask some honest questions about your pursuit of God. Have you been pursuing Him...or possibly just cruising along?
• Another reason to not allow discouragement to win-out is because sometimes the growth is beneath your ability to see its evidence. Or, more time is needed to see the results. The plant called Chinese bamboo is a perfect example. It grows from a node under the dirt for 4 or 5 years without revealing a single upward sprout. Then, in about the fifth year, it rises through the surface, growing up, up, up, and out of the forest canopy. And becomes one of the tallest bamboo species in existence, topping out at something like 80 feet!
The parable of the growing Mustard Seeds is only 2 verses long (Matthew 13: 31, 32). But it is so important for us. Mostly for it's encouragement. So that we don't get discouraged...or stop trying...or stop serving and using our gifts.
"...let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9, esv).
And he reminded Christians in Thessalonica,
"As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good" (2 Thessalonians 3:13, esv).
Brought to you by IronMen.