The Parable of the Mustard Seed, ©Mark Hewitt 1999
1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13 (NRSV)
Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.
Samuel Anoints David
The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’ Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.’ And the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you, and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.” Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.’ Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, ‘Do you come peaceably?’ He said, ‘Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’ Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘Neither has the Lord chosen this one.’ Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen any of these.’ Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all your sons here?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.’ And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.’ He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.
In the parable of the Mustard seed, we are offered hope. We see greatness coming out of small beginnings. The mustard seed is so small, yet, the mature shrub can reach 3 metres.
God’s realm can be experienced in the most unspectacular, commonplace or “shrub like” events. This is God’s world located in the ordinary. It may start small but will end up disproportionally large.
The Mustard Scrub though requires time, patience along with good soil, preparation & feeding to grow from a small seed to that large shrub.
Connecting back to our first reading, David was a very young boy. Anointed, yes. But it was a long time yet before he himself becomes king. There a a few other chapters yet to be lived through. David had to grow into being King as the mustard seed must wait its time to grow into a bush. Callings on one’s life or a community can take time to come into being. Each of us is chosen by God to do particular things, the nature of which will change over time. There are always opportunities to do new things, be called to new tasks.
Rev Mark Hewitt, 17 June 2018
at The Corner Uniting Church, Warradale, South Australia.
Mark 4: 26-34 (NRSV)
The Parable of the Growing Seed
He also said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
He also said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’
The Use of Parables
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
Dear God, we confess that
instead of putting our trust in you,
we often want to know the outcome
before we say yes to the invitation.
Grant us the courage to answer your call,
and help us to remember
you have chosen us for something special.
-©Seasons of the Spirit