I want to tell you a story. I want to tell you a bible story. Bible stories are the best kind of stories of all, do you know why? Because they are true. This one is a very special Bible story, because the first person to tell this story was Jesus. Last week we explained that Jesus used to tell people stories to explain to them about God and Heaven. The idea of God is so huge, that the only way he could even begin to explain God so that we could understand was to give examples, or tell parables.
Does anyone remember what a parable is?
Yes, a parable is a story where something unknown is compared to something known so that we can understand the lesson.
This parable was so popular that it was included in more than one place in the Bible. We find it in the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. It was such an important teaching that it was included in three of the four Gospel accounts.
This parable is about a mustard seed. Now when you hear the word mustard what do you think?
In this case we aren’t talking about mustard like you see on a hot dog, but a real mustard seed. Jesus liked this small seed so much that he actually told two stories with it. The first story goes like this.
Jesus told us a story about the mustard seed and he said it was like the Kingdom of Heaven. In this story a man once took a mustard seed, the smallest of all the seeds, and planted it in his garden. But it didn’t say he planted it. When we look at the language it was originally written it, it’s more like he tossed it into the garden. When he came back the mustard seed had grown into the biggest plant in the whole garden. It was so big that birds nested among the leaves. All from this tiny seed.
Just like our last parable the seed stands for the truth about God, and the truth about the kingdom of heaven. Once it is planted it will continue to grow. Just like in our last story the good soil produced a crop of 100, 60 and 30, when the truth of God is planted in this story it continues to grow and grow to be the biggest.
When we look at this seed it doesn’t look that big, but if you were to put it in the ground and walk away, then come back in a year you would see a huge difference. That’s how God works in your heart. At first you don’t feel any different, but over time the difference is amazing.
It doesn’t take that much to get started, a tiny seed of truth is enough to plant in your heart, and God does the rest. The farmer may plant the seed, water it and care for it, but he can’t make it grow. God makes it grow. God decides how big it gets and how much is produced from the plant. Just like the tiny seed planted in the heart. God makes it grow and helps you.
The second story by Jesus is also about a mustard seed. Just like you don’t need that much to start a big faith in God, you don’t need that much to keep it going.
In this story Jesus said that if you have the faith of a mustard seed you could command a mountain to break free of the ground and just jump into the sea. What?! That’s crazy! Jesus must have made a mistake. Mountains are huge and they never move.
Jesus wasn’t joking. He meant it. Jesus knew that it doesn’t take that much faith to believe. Jesus knew that faith can start small and be so powerful. He knew that a person of faith could do anything because faith sustains them. Jesus knew that faith makes all things possible. He also knew that through God all things are possible, so faith in God, even tiny mustard seed faith, changes things.
So, it’s a great story, so why am I telling you this story? Do I want to take you outside and have you start rearranging the hills of Gainesville? No. I want you to see that the faith in God is within your reach. Jesus didn’t say that if you have the faith the size of a mountain you could move a mustard seed… No. He said a little bit of faith can do great big things.
I’m telling you this because kids are the best believers, Jesus always said so. In the Gospel of Matthew, he said approach God like a little child, and that heaven belongs to people that believe like a child.
So, in this story we see that big things come from just a small amount of faith, and we see that Jesus knew kids had that kind of faith. He knew that you would understand God better, then you would understand faith better, and that you would come to him better. He knew that you would see the truth better.
What is the truth? Well, the Bible says that all of us have made mistakes, and that those mistakes separate us from God. It says that on our own none of us can be good, and none of us can reach God on our own. He also says that the punishment we deserve for our behavior is death.
The Good News, the truth that Jesus wants you to know is that there is a better way. He is the way. He came to save us. He came to take our punishment. He came to take all the blame for all of our bad choices and mistakes, so that we could go to heaven. He came so that we wouldn’t have to die, but so that we could live. We could live forever with God in Heaven. Jesus loves us so much that he came to save us.
Now what are we going to do with that? Are we going to nod, smile and then go do our craft? Are we going to daydream until something more fun comes along, or are you going to prove God right? Are you going to grab your mustard seed and believe? Are you going to plant the seed of God’s truth in your heart and let it grow to be the biggest? Are you going to let Jesus save you?
Let us pray…