This past Sunday, Pastor Michael used Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed to remind us that God’s kingdom matures in God’s time and through God’s provision. Just as the tiny mustard seed can grow into a tall tree, God can use the smallest acts of faith to further God’s kingdom. As an example, he spoke of our community garden. This past spring, our Sunday school children planted tomato, yellow squash, and green pepper seeds to grow produce for our community food pantry. Through this garden, we hope to bless those in need with fresh vegetables later this summer.
Pastor Michael went on to say that this garden is one example of God’s kingdom coming in God’s time. Months ago, Tom had shared his idea of a community garden with Pastor Mike, but there were a few issues with getting the garden started. Now, these months later, that garden had come to fruition because of a Sunday school lesson and the inspiration that followed.
I smiled sheepishly at my dear Jim, thankful that he loves his whiny wife. Because earlier that morning, I had been grousing about filling water jugs, watering the plants, and keeping watch over the weeds and growing vegetables. As Sunday school coordinator, I have had the oversight of the garden. Jim knows that gardening is not one of my “spiritual gifts.”
The truth is, I have had very little responsibility for the garden. I am so very grateful for those who willingly bore the more difficult work. Dick built the wooden frames. He and Rita completed the exhausting task of filling them with soil. Coni, Tim, Kathy, and other anonymous volunteers help maintain the garden along with the Sunday school children. My role is so insignificant. Usually I don’t mind these tasks, but after a busy week, I was feeling resentful.
As I listened to Pastor Michael’s words, I was ashamed but also inspired. To discover that what I had considered trivial and mundane tasks were part of God’s larger kingdom helped me to see their significance. To hear that these tasks were an answer to prayer gave me a divine purpose for my work. To be reminded that the produce will bless those in need with good food made me ashamed that I had been resentful; I, who am so abundantly blessed but often take my plentiful meals for granted. Is it so much for God to ask me to water or weed twice a week?
We must never forget how our most insignificant tasks, those we consider minutia, the chores we even resent at times, can all be part of a greater good. And perhaps we should be more willing and available to stretch a bit, to take on a task we’d “rather not do” – for that task might just be a divine appointment that has come our way.
The idea that I am serving a greater good, a higher purpose, an answer to prayer, and a fulfillment of kingdom living, makes filling water jugs and checking the garden such a small role to play. Today I thank God for yet another humbling moment; a reminder of my short-sighted pettiness- and God’s incredible goodness.
Pastor Michael’s sermon message may be viewed at St. John United Methodist’s website: sjumcwv.org. “The Seeds of Innovation“