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.