Today I want to use part of the parable Jesus spoke in Mark 4:30-32 when He told about the mustard seed. Verse 31b-32 says: “…a mustard seed, which, when planted, is the smallest of all the seeds in the field; but after it has been planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all the plants, with such big branches that the birds flying about can build nests in its shade.” (That quote is from the Complete Jewish Bible translation.) In the Amplified Bible translation there is this footnote: “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…”
I want to talk about how small things can grow to really large things and change the world. One example is the story of Walmart. Sam Walton opened his first small variety store in 1950 in Bentonville, Arkansas – population 2,919. Take that up seventy-two years to 2022 when the number of Walmart stores in the U.S. numbers 5,342. In January 2022 there were 10,593 stores worldwide. Is there a single American that has not shopped in a Walmart store? I would be surprised if there is one. A small thing that grew to a very large thing.
Another example is the story of Billy Graham. It was Easter weekend in 1937 when his college dean volunteered the then 18 year old to preach at a Florida church. With much fear and trepidation, he delivered an 8 minute sermon to about 40 people. Afterward, one man told him he had better go back to school or he was not going to make it. He did go back to school and in 1939 he was ordained as a preacher.* His ministry evolved from preaching in small Florida churches to HUGE crusades. I read that he preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history – nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. There is no telling how many people met Jesus and were saved through that ministry. A small thing that grew to a very large thing.
Then there is that old church camp song we used to sing called “Pass It On”, and the first line is: “It only takes a spark, to get a fire going…” We know that just a spark can sometimes result in a home, a business or even an entire community being destroyed by fire. A small thing grew to a very large thing.
There are multitudes of examples in all kinds of areas that could be talked about here. But, I will stop with those three examples and get to the point I want to make.
I am sure that all of you, like myself, have heard about or read stories about how someone had their life impacted strongly just because someone spoke a kind word to them, or showed some small act of kindness. I have heard how someone planning to commit suicide changed their mind because of a kind word or action. Or some encouraging word from someone caused a person to change their course of action and found it to be the perfect answer for their life. If I was a betting person, I would bet that thousands of people have had their lives changed for the better every single day because of one kind word or act of kindness.
But we have to face the fact that we live in a time where there is a tremendous amount of depression, anger, self-absorption, etc. Living under any of those makes it next to impossible to have a positive thought that could result in a kind word or action for someone else. Those are actually the people that need something positive spoken into their lives. I believe that there are millions of people yearning for that kind word or action. They may not even recognize it but it is there. Their frame of mind might not even be in a place where they could graciously accept something positive if given to them. But, maybe it could be that tiny mustard seed planted in their heart that would hopefully sprout and grow into something large.
God can use the smallest of things to grow into something huge, impacting many lives in a positive way. If we would just learn to tune in to Him and His words we could make a difference – possibly even a life changing difference to someone else. Here are some of God’s Words to encourage you to think about how you can impact someone else’s life:
“Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.” Ephesians 4:29 GNT
“Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.” Proverbs 12:18 GNT
“Anxious hearts are very heavy, but a word of encouragement does wonders!” Proverbs 12:25 TLB
“A soothing tongue [speaking words that build up and encourage] is a tree of life, But a perversive tongue [speaking words that overwhelm and depress] crushes the spirit.” Proverbs 15:4 AMP
“What a joy it is to find just the right word for the right occasion!” Proverbs 15:23 GNT
“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweet and delightful to the soul and healing to the body.” Proverbs 16:24 AMP
“The right word at the right time is like precious gold set in silver.” Proverbs 25:11
I pray that you will do as I am going to try to do – listen closely to any prompting I have to speak one kind word to those I encounter. Make it a daily goal to intentionally be kind to someone – be that blessing that builds up someone today.
Written by Karran Martin – July 9, 2022
Below is a picture of the tiny mustard seed. If interested, you can click on the link below to see a picture of a plant that resulted from the seed. You will have to copy & past the link into your browser to see it.