Small Seeds of Change
Harvest Sermon @ Llandysiliogogo – 16/10/08
· Thanks for invitation
o how lovely the church looks
· Not much of a gardener
o growing watercress at school
§ not enough to make a salad sandwich for a hamster let alone a human being!
o my fingers are most definitely pink, not green!
§ so I can’t easily identify with the man in the first story
§ whatever I do, the seed would probably refuse to sprout!
· Life and growth in both plants and animals is still predominantly a mystery to us
o we think we know it all, but we only know the tiniest fraction
o we can certainly aid growth with agricultural methods
§ and at harvest we remember those who work hard with this
o but there is always growth even without our assistance
§ days and years pass, and plants grow everywhere
§ God’s creation continues to sustain life and growth wherever it isn’t hindered or prevented
§ because the seeds and plants fit in with the pattern of life that God created:
‘As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.’ (Genesis 8:22)
· The seed grows by doing exactly what the man does (v27)
o laid to earth then rises
§ the man rises/resurrects; the seed grows and sprouts
o Jesus telling a story about what God was doing in His creation
§ what he sustains in life and growth of plants and animals
§ but also what He was/is doing in the lives of the crowning glory of His creation – people
· To Jesus’ audience it was a mystery like life and growth in plants
o they didn’t know what was happening before their eyes
o God’s saving plan for man waiting to rise up from the tomb
§ that was to be an enormous surprise to Jesus’ disciples
§ we lose the surprise having heard it so often
· imagine hearing it for the first time
· imagine seeing this for the first time – balloon
· So Jesus was a surprise to the Jewish people – to the world
o and He still is!
· He makes the point a second time with the parable of the mustard seed
o we know that God is the creator of the universe
§ the author of life
§ maker and sustainer of all things
o we might imagine Him to only do things on a big scale
§ enormous, amazing, surprising things
o but He also works with the smallest things
§ concern for the tiniest detail of the universe
o mustard seeds are no more than 2mm in diameter
§ but grow into large plants
· It’s true then, that God often works quietly
o in the background of our lives
§ the still, small voice of calm
§ a kind word said, a shoulder to cry on, an act of kindness
· often the people who impact us most are unaware
· Easy to think we only play a small part in the Kingdom
o we’re only a mustard seed, and will always be
§ the seed grows by God’s gracious provision
§ if we offer ourselves to God to be used
· He can/does grow us into something useful (1 Cor 3:6)
· Don’t look down on small beginnings
o Jesus’ ministry seemed small and unspectacular at times
o learning a lesson from the seed
§ look to God for the growth of what we have to offer Him
It's Harvest Sunday at a small village church in rural England, and the vicar is organising his annual harvest service, where people bring their home-grown plants and vegetables to the service.
But this year is different. The local village cricket team has just won their league, and the village is in celebratory mood, so the vicar decides to do something special - he will combine the normal harvest service with a cricket theme.
The day of the service arrives, and the church is filled with flowers. People are bringing in their offerings of vegetables, and in the middle of the display is a cricket wicket; a strip of turf with a set of wooden stumps at each end, and people are laying their offerings on the wicket.
Everything is going fine, until one lady comes up to the front of the church, and places a bag of frozen peas among the other vegetables, but she is stopped by the vicar, so she returns to her seat, still clutching her peas.
"What happened?" asked the lady she's sitting next to.
She shrugs her shoulders, and says:
"There's no peas for the wicket."