The Smallest of All

Key Texts: Mark 4:30-32

Again he 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, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

As I came across this passage today I couldn’t resist briefly commenting on it since the passage is, of course, the source for the name of this very blog.

When Jesus compared the kingdom of God to the tiny mustard seed, “smallest of all seeds on earth” there must have been some who looked at him and shook their head in disbelief.

“Surely,” they would question, “isn’t God’s kingdom the greatest of all kingdoms?”

Then he explained – when planted the seed becomes the largest of all garden plants and the birds perch it its shade.

“Ah,” they would smile – “now we see. “

But do we?

For me, the key is in the bit about planting.

We can sit around and muse about religion all day and all night; ponder the mysteries of the universe for years but if we don’t take the action of planting, it is all for naught.

We must deeply plant the truth, and the hope, of the gospel

  • In our minds
  • In our hearts
  • In our spirits
  • In fellowship
  • In service
  • In mission

We must nurture it, and water it, and celebrate it and most of all,

  • We must share it.

There are so many in our world today who need to hear not just some good news – but the good news – of the gospel of Christ.

It’s our responsibility – and privilege – to plant that good news and help it grow.

Will God’s kingdom take root and grow without us?  Sure.

But what a joy it is to be part of the process.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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