“It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing is the smallest of all seeds on the earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub.”

Mark 4:31-32

Monday, 14 June 2021

Mark 4:26-34

Parables, we could say, were the “movies”, “Facebook and “Twitter” of Jesus’ time. They were the way that religious teachers imparted information to others. People gathered to hear parables just as we look on device screens for information. Rabbis had long used parables to teach and explain things. They (unlike social media) often taught a very important lesson.

Jesus was a skilled user of parables and often used farming analogies to teach because many of his listeners were involved in farming. Jesus uses parables to teach what the Kingdom of God is like, how it grows and how we can be part of the expansion of the kingdom.

The parable we read this weekend has many lessons for us. But one of the most important, it seems to me, is a lesson about small beginnings, the importance of small and often unnoticed things.

Often we are impressed by what is “big”, “glitzy” and who is “famous”. We tend to overlook, ignore or even despise what is small. We think that it is insignificant. We tend to believe that little things are a waste of time and insignificant.

Jesus, in this parable, contradicts conventional worldly wisdom. It reminds us that small things can bring about the big things, that small things have the potential to grow into bigger things that have a lasting effect. Fame and glitz come and go, but some small gestures remain with us forever. Like a building that starts with one small brick upon another grows into a skyscraper, so our small and hidden deeds expand God’s Kingdom.

Seeds need darkness, isolation and the cover of the earth to germinate. Something small, isolated and covered has tremendous potential and power.

We bring about the kingdom in the small things we do. It is not our big and sometimes flashy actions that necessarily expand the kingdom. But, no matter how small or anonymous, what we choose to do daily, consistently brings about the kingdom. It can be as simple as smiling at someone or saying a few kind words that stay with them forever that makes a life-changing difference.

What small things do you do, which you might think are insignificant, that sow tiny seeds of the kingdom every day? In what ways can you sow small seeds every day? Take time today to reflect on this and write down how you will sow seeds from today. Then, commit to doing that and, in doing so, bringing about the kingdom of God.

Lord God,

Often, it is what is seemingly small and insignificant that can have the most power.

Help me see the little ways I can bring about the reign of the kingdom here and now.

I want to be your small seed. Help me not to be seduced by glitz, fame and what the world proffers as important.


Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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