Aloha Friday Message – June 15, 2018 – DEEP-SEE diving

1824AFC061518 – DEEP-SEE Diving

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Mark 4:30-32 30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 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.”

Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea! Today we will look more deeply into this idea of “faith the size of a mustard seed.”

Before we begin, I need to ask if you are using the links-to-Scripture I provide. The purpose of these articles is to get us into the Word. I want you to be able to see what Scripture actually says. That’s why there always are at least 3 “translations” – three versions in different language styles – of ever passage I list. I also always use the full name of every Bible book so that there’s no question about the location of the reference. For example, many writers would denote today’s Key Verse as Mk 4:30ff. I’ll always give you the full reference and provide you with a link so you can look at it more than one way. Do you do that? I hope so; I don’t plan to change that approach in the foreseeable future.

Often I will also give you hints about what the passage(s) say(s) in the original language – as much as is possible – so you can see the Hebrew and/or Greek words that impact the connotative and denotative meanings of the Scripture we’re looking into. Again, the intent is to give you a more “in-depth” look into the Word. That’s why we have that punny title DEEP-SEE Diving. We want to see deeply into Scripture and fish-up the meaning. Then, the next time you see it or hear it, you might be able to remember, “Oh, yeah! That was when Jesus was talking about …!” So what do mustard seeds have to do with fishing (or diving), anyway? Let’s take a deep-see dive. Where else in Scripture does Jesus use the mustard seed as the basis for a parable?

Matthew 13:31-32 31 He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32 it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

Luke 13:18-19 18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what should I compare it? 19 It is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

In addition, we have these passages:

Matthew 17:20 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Luke 17:6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

If we “combine” the messages in these parables, we see that a mustard seed starts off really small and grows into a shrub or bush so large that birds can nest in it. This tells us a little bit of faith nurtured well yields a large volume of blessings that benefit many others. We also see that if our faith were “even as large as” a mustard seed, we could accomplish amazing things. We can toss around mountains or mulberry trees on just the strength of faith if only it is “even as large as” a mustard seed. Have you tried that? Me, neither; but I’d like to. How big is “even as large as” a mustard seed? Take a look at this comparison:

 

Celery Seed – 1.5 – 2 mm
Mustard Seed – 1 – 2 mm
Poppy Seed – 0.7 – 1.0 mm
Amaranth Seed – 0.9 – 1.4 mm
Some orchid seeds (check that out) are only 1/300 of an inch long!

So how large does a “mustard bush grow?” here’s an example from a post back in 2011:

Mustard Seed Tree

Yep, that’s ONE plant! They can be somewhere between 6 to 20 feet tall and have a ground footprint of about 20 square feet. That is pretty amazing for one really small seed. Maybe this will help you see it more clearly:

Jesus told his Disciples in Matthew 5:20 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Righteousness and faith go hand in hand, so if the most righteous people you know are not faith-filled enough that their righteousness will not gain the Heaven, where does that leave the rest of us?

The impact of that parable would have been immense to Jesus’ audience! It should have that same impact on us as well. You probably remember that other parable about seeds, the Parable of the Sower. That can be found in Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15.

We still depend on the people who feed us with crops produced from seeds. In the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:37-39, Jesus says “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; 38 the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.” Throughout the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, “seed” means “descendant.” The seed of Abraham means all of his descendants – more numerous than all the stars or grains of sand in the desert. Those “seeds” must be tended to as much as one tends to herds (See “The Good Shepherd“). We also know that we plant “seed verses” in our hearts, passages from Scripture that grow within us when we nurture them with love. Those seeds of faith produce a crop “some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (See Matthew 13:8).

Beloved, where is our crop? Where is our mustard-seed bush, our acres of wheat, our vineyard of grapes, and our orchard of the Fruit of the Spirit? We cannot expect a harvest if we do not commit to the stewardship of planting. In Matthew 25:14-30 we hear about a greedy king who harvested where he had not sown and gathered where he had not scattered seed. He coerced others to do these things on his behalf. Good stewards saw that opportunity and profited by it. If our harvest is small, unsatisfying, and unsustaining, did we plant enough seeds? When we plant the Word in the “good soil” of our hearts, we have to plant more than one seed to get a harvest. We must also add to the stewardship of planting the stewardship of nurturing. And if we nurture the seeds, the crop they bear will require us to add the stewardship of harvest. It is from the harvest that the sower gets seed for the next crop and grain for the bread to feed himself and others.

The verses and Scripture passages we have looked at today are like seeds planted in our hearts. I call them “Seed Verses.” Seed verses are passages of Scripture that we have pondered over, ruminated upon, perhaps memorized, and when we “harvest” them by bringing them out to feed ourselves and others, we have “seed for the sower and bread for food” (See 2 Corinthians 9:10) so that we will multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. We get better seeds when we store seeds. Do you have any Seed Verses? Here are a few of mine:

See if you feel a seed-like response when you read the first few words of these Seeds:

“The Lord is my shepherd…” Psalm 23:1
“For God so loved …”  John 3:16-18
“I was glad when they said…”  Psalm 122:1
“Some men brought him a paralytic…” Matthew 9:2
“We live by faith, not by sight …” 2 Corinthians 5:7
“… everyone born of God overcomes …”  1 John 5:3-4
“Thy Word have I hid in my heart …”  Psalm 119:11-16
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith …” Hebrews 12:1-2
“anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me …”  John 5:24
“I am the resurrection and the life …”  John 11:25
“There is salvation in no one else …”  Acts 4:12
“Jesus Christ–he is Lord of all.”  Acts 10:36
” … every tongue should confess … ” Philippians 2:9-11
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord…”  Romans 10:8-9
“For I know the plans I have for you…”  Jeremiah 29:11
“… so that being justified by his grace we might become heirsTitus 3:4-8
(See also 1209AFC030212 – Titus The Evangelist – Catholic Letter Series
“… if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”  Romans 8:25
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”  Romans 12:12
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15
” … be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord …” 1 Corinthians 15:58

“Settle for nothing less than God in Christ Jesus.” That’s not a Seed Verse from the Bible. It is a seed from my mustard tree. In fact, this whole series of messages that stretch back to the early years of last decade are harvested seeds from those original seeds planted by my parents, pastors, Sunday School teachers, friends, and hours of deep-see diving in God’s word (no, that is not misspelled. It is DEEP-SEE – Look Deeper).

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

 

PLEASE USE THE INTERCESSORY PRAYER LIST. PEOPLE ARE COUNTING ON US.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

This is a mustard seed charm similar to the one my mom

had when I was about 5. It travels with me on my rosary.

The round Medal directly below it was the first one I got on my own.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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