The Smallest Seed

We are supposed to be having Vacation Bible School right now at my church, but of course the pandemic has changed that. It is one of my favorite weeks of the year. I have always had the role of storyteller at VBS, and the creative fun that ensues with sweaty, wiggly kids is one of the best parts of being a pastor.

Today’s parable took me back to a time when I was working with two off-the-wall pastors at VBS. We shared the story time, and I suggested we create a “growing plant” to use for this parable. You make it by rolling folded sheets of newspaper into a tight roll, and then cut slits from the top of the roll about half way down through all but the outer sheet. Then you tape around the base to secure it. When you reach inside and pull out the very center sheet, it grows into a large tree-like thing. If you use enough paper, it can be over six feet tall.

So I prepared several of these to use with each group, and the three of us took turns telling parts of the story.

Well, if you’ve ever been to VBS, you know that toward the end of the week and by the end of the day, the participants get punchy. So do the pastors. So at our last session, as I was pulling the paper out and making the tree grow, the narrating pastor decided to change the story and described how the mustard tree attacked the farmer. On cue, the other pastor grabbed the tree and pretended it was attacking him. His academy award-winning performance included the tree pushing him down as he wrestled with it, causing him to roll off the steps of the chancel and down the center aisle.

Well, that’s one way to tell the story! The kids LOST it. I still laugh at the memory of it!

31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

The applications here are endless.

With a tiny grain of hope, life is renewed.

With the smallest seed of faith, peace is restored.

With just a little perseverance, a door is unlocked and you are set free.

With one man’s actions on a cross two thousand years ago, an entire world was saved.

With one word gently spoken, a lashing out of anger is prevented.

With one small act of kindness, a day is made.

With one selfless move, an accident is prevented.

With one smile, a stranger decides to hang on for another day.

With one quick phone call, a lonely person is comforted.

The question for us today is, where is God calling you to be that one small thing? What little effort on your part could turn things around for someone else?

You are the mustard seed. Go and plant peace, hope, and love in someone’s heart. You can make all the difference in someone’s day today.

From Small Seeds by Barbara Hudson


  1. Mable l Warren · July 23, 2020

    Rev, Betsey, In 2013 I had to have surgery on my brain after a car accident I’m a single mother, and to say the least, my two grown daughters were so worried! Of ALL God’s comforting words all that came to my mind is Jesus speaking about the tiny mustard seed. And I explained to the best of my ability that all they had to have was the faith the size of tiny mustard seed, Oh that they have a small amount of faith availeth much. After a long fight in Duke Hospital, I finally came around by God’s grace!! I remember every time I woke up there was my younger sister Sherri Right by my side she never left me and she never stopped praying and my daughters witnessed all this!! When they have seen I was gonna be ok even though I was asleep. They had gone to the little gift shop, there they found a mustard seed with the scripture Mathew13;31; Mark4;30-31 inside of some type of clear material, they could see just how small that seed was they not only bought one for me but for themselves and my Sisters and Brothers. As parents, we often wonder if their listening!! I’ve always found God shows us they Are. Though they were worried about losing their Mom, God proved to them that he is still God!! And every day, after he is still with us all, A lot, has happened since then and every now and then Our Lord Jesus Christ always shows me they believe he died for them and risen on the third day. That god so loved the world he gave his only begotten son that who so ever believes in him shall have everlasting life. As I read your writings for today I have had a flood of the Holy Spirit comforting me. Thank you for doing God’s work!! You’re like me I think!! I look forward to the day when he says well done my good and faithful servant, And father this one is with me… Pray for Our Family as I pray for yours!! Again Thank You!! Oh if we only reach one he is well pleased we plant the seed He supplies nourishment… And thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul I love you, Lord Jesus Christ.


    • Betsy · July 23, 2020

      YES!! What a profoundly beautiful testimony to that mustard seed of faith. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this, Mable. You have touched many with your story. To God be the glory!


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