The mustard seed conspiracy

Feb 23rd, 2011 in Daily Devotional by Jim Denison
mustard seeds in cupped hands by Molly Tomlinson, Photoclave

Photo by Molly Tomlinson via Flickr

The Arab world has never seen anything like this.  Today’s BBC reports that more officials in Libya’s government have resigned as Muammar Gaddafi vows to “die a martyr.”  Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal tells us that Iranian warships have sailed through Egypt’s Suez Canal for the first time since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, an apparent attempt to extend Iranian authority in the wake of the pro-democracy movement which has shaken the region.

All of this can be traced to a few people working with social media to advance political reform.  Yesterday we began considering the power of a single individual to change the culture.  James Davison Hunter‘s perceptive analysis, To Change the World, demonstrates that people who use their highest influence for God’s purposes can effect change in ways which are truly significant.

This subversive strategy was initiated by Jesus.  He was the only baby to choose his parents and home, selecting peasants living in a town so small it’s not mentioned even once in the Old Testament.  He chose twelve disciples to lead his movement—all but Judas were from Galilee, far from the attention of the authorities in Jerusalem.

He launched his ministry in the hills of Galilee and established his headquarters in Capernaum, a fishing village 100 miles from Jerusalem.  He then told his followers that they would be “salt” and “light” in their world (Matthew 5:13-16).  A small pinch of salt is enough to change the flavor of a meal; a tiny candle is obvious in a dark room.

He also compared his kingdom to “a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32).  When we were in Bangladesh we watched farmers harvest mustard seed.  They cut the plant and laid it on the ground to dry.  Then they walked cows over it to separate the seed and husk from the stalk.  Finally they used flat baskets to toss the seed and husk into the air, where the breeze carried away the husk and left the seed.

The mustard seed which remained is so tiny as to be nearly invisible in the hand.  But it produces a tree so large that birds nest in its branches.  So it would be with the kingdom, Jesus promised.  Beginning with just 120 at Pentecost, his movement would become a global army of two billion people today.

Your Father has a purpose for your life which is designed for no other person on earth.  One + God is a majority.  Have you submitted your plans and problems to his Spirit yet today?

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