The Swinging Pendulum
Again [Jesus] said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants …
- Mark 4:30-32
Before we close out the week with tomorrow’s post we wanted to make one quick observation about Jesus’ parable / analogy in this week’s passage.
Because the mustard seed is so small, a mustard plant can produce a whole lot of seeds. An average mustard plant can produce over 8,000 seeds. One seed can produce half-a-billion seeds in just a few generations.
The kingdom of God is like this … capable of growing rapidly and broadly, reaching and including and blessing at a scale that’s disproportionate to its starting point.
Jesus doesn’t just want us to see our small communities as part of something bigger. He also wants us to see our small communities as capable of rapid expansion, as designed by him for rapid expansion.
Just as the seed expands to become the plant and the plant expands to produce more seeds, God invites us to join his expanding and expansive kingdom. The rhythm of the kingdom swings from small to big and back to small again. Seed to plant to seed to plant. Small group to gathered worship to small groups to gathered worship. Back and forth the pendulum swings as we grow.
Rapid expansion doesn’t repudiate smallness. In fact, smallness is a necessary and significant element of the life of mustard and of Christian community.
To which of these ends of the pendulum are you more naturally drawn: to the small or to the big? How can you help our community continue to appreciate what you appreciate? Who can you listen to in order to grow in your appreciation of the other end of the pendulum?