And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. Mark 4:30-34

I remember a trip to Israel some time ago where I found a mustard plant. I have to confess, the guide had to point it out as I’d never seen one. The guide mentioned that there should be seeds on the plant, so (thinking of this passage), I ‘harvested’ some seeds. Indeed, they were tiny. And, just for fun, I popped them in my mouth and ate them. While I really enjoy very spicy food, I was surprised at how spicy the seeds actually were! These tiny seeds, specks on my hand, packing the spicy punch, all came from a plant a little taller than me. It’s amazing to think this tiny speck produced such a large plant.

Our journey with Jesus began just like that mustard seed. How much we knew of Jesus was small, matching our formation in the Spirit. Similar to how the environment impacts the growth of the mustard plant, our soul environment influences our growth in knowing Jesus and the Spirit. As we surrender ourselves to Jesus, and more of our ‘soul environment’ becomes molded in the way of Jesus, we begin to walk in the way of Jesus, almost without realizing it.

What an amazing experience! Our soul journey takes us down roads and paths that are sometimes easy and sometimes really hard. Like my dad says, our rough edges are ‘knocked off’ by our experiences, and the bumps and bruises are healed. What’s left is a changed soul. We begin to see God’s creation in new ways. We begin to see life just a little bit like God might see it.

As you go through your day, every day, look around you and contemplate how you might have once observed something differently than you do now. Do you see things in a different ‘light’? Are things seeming to be ‘brighter’ to you than they were before? Celebrate the ways God has changed and grown you.

By Rich Obrecht