Posted by Rev. Daniel Christian on June 08, 2018
It is widely known in my house that I like mustard. At our restaurant in Novato named Beso Bistro, my wife recently added Tater Tots to the menu. I sampled the new menu addition, while watching a San Francisco Giants baseball game and ate an entire plate, all the while dipping each Tot in spicy mustard! As you can imagine, it was a great way to spend part of an afternoon! I held up the mustard container and took a long look at it and started thinking about a passage in the Bible. It is the Book of Mark, which is located in the New Testament. Jesus tells a parable about mustard seeds. “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground. 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.”
Something so small and seemingly less significant has the capacity to grow and bloom into something good and necessary. Our lives are like mustard seeds. Pause for a moment and look back over the landscape of your life. Take a long slow look and see how you were positively taught, nurtured, supported and encouraged by someone or a group? Without those people and experiences you may not be the person you are today. You are the living result of others who nurtured and cared for you! Pretty cool huh?
I was preaching my sermon last week and shared a story about my very first minister mentor. So much of who I am today was influenced and shaped by his dedication, humor and compassion. I wonder and hope that the mustard seeds that I have sown throughout my life have done some good.
The mustard seed parable reveals that a harvest can stem from next to invisible beginnings. We can draw strength from this. At times in our life we can become discouraged and think that our little actions appear insignificant or even fruitless. We can be assured that it is good not to give-up. The parable of the mustard seed reminds that the gifts from God are not to be held in private and kept secret. Rather, the gift provides light for other people and shelter and safety for those who are in need.
The small things we say and do make a difference. If you have or have had children in your life then you know for sure. I am writing my column on the last day of school. I just dropped our daughter off and tried to thank all of her teachers, parent helpers and administrators for doing a wonderful job teaching and caring for our children. I watched their last morning assembly. We said the Pledge of Allegiance, then prayed our morning prayer. I looked out over a sea of beaming faces ready for summer splashing and fun. The principal challenged each child by asking, “I want you to be good, be safe and learn something new over the summer.” The kids were joyfully and playfully defiant but I took what he said to heart.
Our kids are mustard seeds that have been cared for, as are we. Our lives matter and how we live them can have a profound impact on the world around us. As you go into summer think about the goodness you want to be connected to. You really can change your life.
One thing I want to do this summer is thank my two English teachers who taught me the love of reading and writing. Mr. Riley was my junior high school teacher and Mrs. Puckett was my high school teacher. I think of them often, but this time I will do more than just think, I will tell them “Thank you.”
I hope each of you have a “good, safe and learn something new summer.” If you are like me, you will spend some of your summer with Tater Tots and mustard.
Rev. Daniel Christian is the Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Ukiah.
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