Thursday, April 20, 2017

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
Beyond the Resurrection: Mustard-Seed-Sized Faith

Beyond the Resurrection is an important subject to address, because the Great Commission is to make disciples versus believers. In keeping with discipleship we have, in a concise manner, touched on the Significance of the Resurrection; Jesus’ Promise of Peace; Conspiracy of Love (a.k.a. “The Great Commission”); and Inside-Out (Temple of the Holy Spirit). Today we move onto “Mustard-Seed-Sized Faith”.
 Measuring and sizing-up is a daily natural human activity. For example, we calculate and assess situations, people, opportunities, progress, and success. If we’re cooking, we use tools to measure the exact amounts of ingredients needed for a recipe. When our children are growing up, we may annually mark their height on a wall or door frame. When we’re shopping for groceries, we keep a running total in our heads. We assess (and sometimes judge) other people that we know, and often total strangers. For personal safety, we evaluate our environment (e.g., parking in a well-lit area at night versus in a dark area).
Gardening and farming are also activities that require measuring and sizing up. When we bought our first home in 2009, my husband and I discovered we had entered the weather-watchers club. We switched from checking the weather to know how to dress for the upcoming day to anxiously watching the sky for signs of rain in our drought-ridden area and setting up rain barrels to catch every precious drop. Suddenly, our focus was on how to protect newly-planted flowers, shrubs, trees from being damaged by extreme temperatures, wind storms, and animals. One of my favourite garden activities is worshiping through singing and meditation. For example, I am impressed by how well weeds grow in our red clay; because I think that if the weeds can grow so prolifically, then there’s hope for our plants to thrive. And in the spring, the new growth in our garden beds reminds me of the parable of the weeds growing with good plants and the possibility of pulling up the plants by mistake, (Mt. 13: 24-30, 36-43).
The Parable of the Mustard Seed is another gardeners’ allegory about the size and effect of the mustard seed, (Mt. 13:31-32; Mk. 4:30-32; Lk. 13: 18-19). The tiny mustard seed was used as a metaphor for the growth of the Kingdom of God, (Mk. 4: 30-32).  The Amplified Bible provides a footnote concerning the size of the mustard seed: “Mark 4:31 In ancient Israel the mustard seed was the smallest known seed, and in rabbinic teaching the mustard seed was used as an example of something very small (in the Talmud). Jesus also compared faith to the size of a mustard seed, emphasizing that everything is possible with faith—even a little faith, (Mt. 17:20). It’s true that the Old and New Testaments are filled with stories about giants of the faith (e.g., Heb. 11). Nevertheless, having a little faith is a starting point, but we need to “…go on instead and become mature in our understanding,” (Heb. 6: 1, NLT).
Isn’t it a huge relief to know that even if we only have a little faith, Jesus hears and answers us? And this is the message that we need include in our discipleship/mentoring of others.
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)

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