Small things matter. Consider these small mistakes in ads and the major change in meaning from what was intended:
Dog for sale: eats anything and is fond of children.
Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home too.
The Superstore-unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches" (Matthew 13:31-32).
To be part of the expanding influence of God’s kingdom, we must be plantable. We need to be good soil. Also in Matthew 13 is another parable comparing human hearts to a farmer’s field. Some hearts are hard and God’s seed can’t penetrate. Others are shallow. Some get distracted by other things. But some take in the seed and produce a harvest. Before we can influence, we must be influenced. Before we can teach, we must learn. Before we can change the world, we must be changed.
To participate in God’s expanding influence, we must also be purposeful. Few good things happen accidentally. The seed couldn’t produce until “the man took and planted” it in his field. Jesus targeted his influence on 12 hand-picked men. They, in turn, followed a plan to expand that influence out from Jerusalem. We, too, should give prayerful thought to how to exert purposeful influence.
And, to perpetuate the kingdom’s expanding influence, we must be patient. No farmer harvests the day he plants. The mustard seed took time to grow. But, grow it did. In the same way, God will grow great things from the seeds we plant.
In an interview, David Cameron, former British Conservative Party leader, made an astute observation. Asked what it means to be British, part of his reply was that it means “having a role that punches above our weight in the world.” The little island of England has had a disproportionate impact on world history.
You can do that! We can each “punch above our weight in the world” if we’ll let God change us, if we’ll intentionally seek to influence, and if we’ll be patient. That’s what mustard seeds are meant to do.