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  • Writer's pictureRev. Dr. Jesse G. Mabanglo

Lent Day 16

Scripture: Mark 4: 26-34

The Parable of the Growing Seed

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself, the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

30 Again, he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

33 With many similar parables, Jesus spoke the word to them as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

Today's Meditation: 

With Jesus naming the seed as a mustard seed, it pinpoints this particular seed’s growing characteristics and botanical history. Mustard is not a flowering shrub to accent our gardens with. Mustard is an invasive plant that, if left unchecked, will quickly get out of hand and overrun your garden. One is left with this very uncomfortable realization that the mustard seed is like the Kingdom of God that has the very real potential of being disruptive.

Yet, despite the unsettling, explosive, and disruptive nature of the parables of Jesus, it was received eagerly and willingly by people on the margins, people who were lowly, people who were vulnerable, people who were considered outcasts and unworthy, and people who had no power.

People of means and of power and of prestige did not readily embrace the preaching and teaching of Jesus. It was not readily received by this segment of the population because they realized it would usher in a new order, a new order in which they would not be in charge or not be the top dog. And this was unacceptable to them.

The lesson that this parable teaches us is this: We are to embrace the power of the petite. We are so used to gravitating to the bigger is better clarion. It rings loudly in our ears as well as in our culture. From monster trucks to supersized meals, we like the big, the bold, the beast. But if you know anything about what a mustard seed looks like, it is a tiny seed. But according to Mark, Matthew, and Luke, they grow into shrubs or trees that can support birds of the air.

In God’s scheme of things, God uses the smallest to achieve what God needs to achieve in order to make a point. Think David and Goliath. We are stymied sometimes that we do not have what it takes to be used by God. We convince ourselves we are not strong enough, we are not significant enough, we are not smart enough, we are not rich enough and so on and so on.

This is the beauty and hope of the Kingdom of God. God sees our lack of this or that as an asset. When we are open to God’s leading and God’s calling, we bloom into something beyond ourselves.

May you enter this week with this promise that God is not so much looking for your ability. God is interested in your availability. May this parable of the sower and seed give you comfort, and may you experience God’s surprising grace and disruptive love.


Loving God, may you daily restore in me the joy of your salvation and sustain in me a willing spirit. Amen.

Jesse G. Mabanglo


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