Redeeming the Chaos
You Are Making an Impact
Do you ever wonder if you’re making a difference in the lives of your kids? Are you trying to raise your kids to love the Lord and obey his word, yet you sometimes wonder if you are having any impact or influence at all? If this sounds like you, I think you will be encouraged by today’s episode.
Welcome to episode 48 of Redeeming the Chaos.
A few weeks ago, I was asked to create a devotional video for the women’s group at my church. Today’s episode is an audio recording of the video that I created.
We are doing a devotional series on the parables of Jesus. My devotional is about the parable of the mustard seed, and how God can use something small to have a huge impact in his Kingdom.
I think this message is especially powerful for us as moms. We often spend our days cleaning up messes, breaking up fights, cooking and cleaning. We read the Bible with our kids and model what it looks like to love and serve God. Then we hope and pray that our words and actions are making a difference.
And sometimes, we look around and wonder – is it enough? Am I doing enough? I’m not preaching to stadiums packed with thousands of people. I’m not flying to the other side of the world to witness Hindus in India. Some days I can barely drag myself out of bed and get out of my yoga pants. Some days, I’m just happy my kids and I made it to the end of the day alive.
Can you relate? If so, I think you will be encouraged by today’s post. Keep reading, listening, or watching!
Do you ever feel small and insignificant? Do you feel like your life has little impact or influence? Do you wonder if you’re making a difference? We’re going to talk about a parable Jesus told about something very small that had a huge impact.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Our parable for today is from Mark 4:26-32 (ESV)
“And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 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.”
We can conclude from this passage and other parables that Jesus told, that the seed is the Word of God, and the soil is the hearts of unbelievers. The farmer is a worker for God’s kingdom.
Let’s look a little more closely at our passage. What can we learn about the Kingdom of God from this passage? Let’s make a few observations:
- A man scatters the seeds — which is the Word of God.
- He rises night and day — he goes on with his life. He’s not worried or anxious about his seeds. He’s confident in what seeds are meant to do.
- Next, the seed sprouts and grows all on its own, but the man doesn’t know how it happens.
- Then, the earth produces, “by itself”… without help from the farmer.
- Lastly, the man harvests the seed.
What does the worker do in this passage? He plants the seeds. He shares the gospel. He tells others about the Word of God. But he is not responsible for making the seed grow.
Hebrews 4:12 says “The Word of God is living and active.” When you plant a seed of the gospel in someone’s life, it takes on a life of its own. God is the one who makes the seed grow.
In the second part of the passage, Jesus is still talking about a seed. But this time he specifically talks about the mustard seed. The passage says that the mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds, yet it grows into one of the largest of all garden plants.
This is a picture of a mustard seed…
This is a picture of a mustard tree…
(Note: There is some debate over what specific type of plant / tree Jesus was referring to in this parable. Some scholars believe it was a tree, others believe it was a large bush or shrub. Either way, the illustration holds up in that it was something small and insignificant that grew into something very big).
What can we learn about the kingdom of God from the mustard seed? It starts out small and grows into something big. It starts out as something seemingly insignificant, but it grows into something that provides shelter and shade for many creatures.
A Story About Impact
I’d like to tell you a story:
Back in 1858, a Sunday school teacher named Edward Kimball taught a group of teenage boys. There was one boy in particular he felt drawn to pursue and share the gospel with. Kimball said: “I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker than was this boy when he came into my Sunday School class.”
But Kimball didn’t give up. He went to the shoe store where the boy worked and found him in the back room, stocking the shelves. He shared the gospel with him and the boy ended up receiving Christ as his savior.
That boy was Dwight L. Moody.
Dwight L. Moody was one of the greatest evangelists of the 19th century, and founded the Moody Bible Institute.
But the story doesn’t stop there. Moody preached in a church led by a man named Frederick Meyer. Meyer was inspired by Moody’s message and became an evangelist himself.
Frederick Meyer preached in a church in Massachusetts where a man named J. Wilbur Chapman came to know the Lord and also went on to be an evangelist.
A man named Billy Sunday helped Wilbur Chapman with his crusades. And you guessed it, Billy Sunday took over the ministry of Wilbur Chapman and also went on to be an evangelist.
A group of men in Charlotte NC heard Billy Sunday preach and they were inspired to reach their city for Christ. They invited an evangelist named Mordecai Ham to come and preach at their church.
A farmer decided to invite some local teenagers to ride along with him in his pickup truck to attend the meetings. One 16 year old boy was especially convicted by the preaching of Mordecai Ham, and on the last night of the crusade, he went forward to give his life to Christ.
That 16 year old boy was Billy Graham.
I probably don’t need to tell you about the influence of Billy Graham. He is the greatest evangelist of the 20th century, and perhaps of all time. In his lifetime, he preached to over 215 million people. He led more than 400 crusades in over 185 countries. In a 2005 Gallup Poll, out of 35 million Americans, 1 in 6 had heard Billy Graham preach in person.
I’m guessing Edward Kimball, the Sunday School teacher back in 1858, never dreamed of the impact he would have. All because he was faithful to share the gospel with that one rebellious boy in the back of a shoe store.
You Can Impact God’s Kingdom
Just like that mustard seed that started small and grew to be like a tree, large enough for birds to find protection in its branches, so you and I can influence the world for the Kingdom of God.
And I haven’t even mentioned all the OTHER people who were influenced by the ministries of Frederick Meyer, J. Wilbur Chapman, Billy Sunday or Mordecai Ham. Nothing can stop the Good News about Jesus from taking root, growing and changing people’s lives.
So what about you? Who has God put in your life that you can impact and influence for the Kingdom of God? What seed of God’s love can you plant today? Maybe it’s one of your children that needs to be shown a little extra grace. Maybe it’s a co-worker who needs you to reach out and be their friend. Maybe you could volunteer to disciple a small group of elementary kids on Sunday. Maybe your grumpy old neighbor just needs to see your smiling face each morning. Or Maybe he could use a hand with his yard work.
Sometimes we get stressed out about sharing the entire plan of salvation with someone. And there certainly is a time and place for that. But the seed you plant may be something as small as telling a friend you are praying for them. Or sharing a scripture that has been meaningful to you. Or simply taking the time to listen and ask questions, rather than judging.
I Corinthians 3:6 says:
“After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.
So, what work has God given you? Who are the people that God has put in your realm of influence? Like the mustard seed, you may feel like your impact is tiny and insignificant. You may feel like your endless efforts are not achieving results.
Your responsibility is to be faithful in the work God has given you, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. And then, leave the rest up to him! He’s the one who will do the work and make the seed grow.
When you plant a seed of the gospel in someone’s heart, it grows and spreads beyond your wildest imagination.
You ARE making an impact.
Today’s episode is sponsored by the Family Fruit Challenge.
I’m excited to announce that we will be hosting the Family Fruit Challenge again this year. Some of you may have participated last summer. I know my kids really enjoyed it and asked if we can do it again this year.
If you want to be intentional about raising kids who love God, show kindness to others, fill the room with joy and demonstrate self-control, then join us this summer for a fun, family challenge focused on the Fruit of the Spirit.
I know summers can be a little crazy. It’s easy to get caught up in the activities and before you know it, back to school we go!
Let’s take advantage of the extra time with our kids this summer. Join us as we learn about the fruits of the Spirit and learn to rely on God to produce His fruit in the lives of our kids!
What’s Included in the Family Fruit Challenge
- A short, weekly devotional about one of the fruits of the Spirit, contributed by 9 different guest writers (10 weeks total, including intro), delivered straight to your inbox!
- Printable memory verse cards about the fruit of the week.
- Printable “Fruit” cards to display in your home.
- Links to activities, songs, games, and crafts that will help your children learn about the fruit of the week.
- Ideas to help motivate your kids to put into practice what they’ve learned.
- Oh, and by the way, it’s totally FREE!
When you sign up for the challenge, you’ll receive a reminder email every Monday morning for 10 weeks. The email will include a link to the blog post for the week where you’ll find the devotional, printable verse cards and activities!
No matter when you sign up, you’ll always start with Week 1 and continue through week 10. Feel free to tell your friends!
Sign Up for the Challenge!
You’re not going to want to miss the next episode of Redeeming the Chaos, where we talk about tips to survive the summer with a house full of boys!