‘“What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”’ Mark 4: 30-32
As anyone who has helped a child grow mustard and cress will confirm, mustard seeds really are tiny. Jesus is absolutely right. But when this tiny seed is planted and nurtured, it grows into a huge plant – in fact, a mustard tree is one of the biggest plants in the Near East.
It’s fascinating that Jesus compares the kingdom of God to something so small and insignificant, but which becomes huge and strong. If we’re serving God diligently and working hard to help establish his kingdom on earth, it can get disheartening if we feel we’re not doing great and impressive things. But Jesus delights in the small and overlooked: the boy with a packed lunch, the widow who puts just a few coins in the Temple treasury and, yes, the mustard seed. Maybe it’s the tiny things we do that please God the most: the small acts of kindness and self-sacrifice which no-one else notices.
In the cold light of day, some might question how effective BCT’s work is. If our project partners are providing a pair of therapeutic shoes for a child with cerebral palsy, or taking a bag of food to a family affected by HIV, or sitting with a pastor and gently explaining that the Bible contains no example of a child being accused of witchcraft, then surely those actions are tiny. How much difference do those things really make?
Well, as it turns out, if the mustard seed is planted, it turns into a huge tree. So it is with our partners. Their work is firmly planted in Jesus, his power and his goodness. Because of that, their tiny actions make a huge impact. Slowly but surely, individual lives, families, churches and whole communities are transformed. The kingdom of God flourishes.
BCT has always been a small organisation. Frankly, not many people have even heard of us. But we’re not bothered by that. We’re content to keep bringing our tiny efforts before God and to watch and marvel as he blesses those efforts, breathes his life into them and turns them into something far bigger and more significant than we could have imagined.
Today, if you see yourself as one of the little people – doing your best to serve God but perhaps slightly disappointed that your efforts aren’t more impressive – may Jesus show you just how much the tiny things matter. May he take your efforts and, over time, create something truly awesome from them. And may you know God’s delight in even the tiny things you do in his name.
BCT might be small, but God is at work through us. Join us and play your part in a ‘mustard seed’ movement.