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.” Mark 4, verses 30-32.
I’m reading a book called “The Real Lincoln” from 2002. It’s a libertarian and brutally frank look at Honest Abe, his agenda as president, and his lifelong political stands concerning slavery, tariffs, and internal improvements (which we’d think of as roads and bridges). To me, Lincoln is extraordinary because of his drive to better himself, his unrelenting passion, and his poetic use of the King’ English. Abraham Lincoln’s faith in God has been debated since the day he died, yet he had read and re-read the Scriptures more than most ministers of his day (or ours). After reading several dozen books about the man, I come away understanding that, while Lincoln didn’t publicly embrace the kind of Christianity (or even Deism) with which I could identify, he did possess undeniable faith that inspired him and helped him to understand the times in which he lived.
That’s the thing about faith: it inspires and helps us to understand. The more we walk in faith, the more passionate we become about it, and the more we become the fertile ground in which it can prosper. It doesn’t take much, either, to start something big to growing. That’s the point of these verses. When we grasp onto the living words of Jesus, a huge faith begins to grow from the smallest determination.
One of the things my minister talked about yesterday was taking Jesus at His word, about understanding that, when Jesus says He can heal us, He means He can actually heal us no matter the affliction. I have friends who have practiced faith healing that truly works. Not long ago, a friend of mine was telling me how God quickly answered a prayer she said in desperation and it was the start of healing years of sad turmoil in her life. We should learn to take Jesus at His word and honestly, fully, and simply believe that He does and will heal us when we are afflicted.
That simple, full and honest belief all starts with faith. Lincoln had faith in his abilities, in the ability to seethe right in what was happening around him, and in the words of our Founding Fathers. I think we are all drawn to people who have faith because people who express faith express leadership. They inspire. They profess. They move forward in confidence. All these things happen because of grasping, then keeping, simple faith.
There is another thing that must be said about these verses, you know, about “the kingdom of God.” We’ll talk about that tomorrow.
Lord, thank You for the gift of faith, for learning that ‘seeing isn’t believing but believing is seeing’
Read the rest of Mark 4.