Pentecost Proper 6
From “Sitting on the Rainbow”
Scripture Reference: Mark 4:26-34
Preparation: Bring dry seeds in a glass jar, as well as seeds that have sprouted with visible roots and young shoots. Large, sprouted bean seeds work well for illustrating your talk; the roots and sprouts are easy to see.
Take a look at the seeds I brought with me this morning. I’m storing them in this glass jar. I take them out every day to look at them, but they always look the same. I thought that maybe they should have leaves or roots by now, but nothing has happened. Why do you suppose that is? (Let the children explain that you have to plant the seeds before they will grow.) I have to plant the seeds?
You’re right. A seed needs warmth and water to sprout. If I just leave these seeds in this dry jar, they’ll never sprout, will they?
I have some other seeds with me, seeds that have been soaking in water. Do you see what has happened to these seeds? (Show the children your sprouted seeds and let them comment.) These seeds are changing, aren’t they? They have the beginnings of little roots going down and a little sprout going up. Because these seeds were put into water, they had the chance to sprout.
Jesus explained many things to us by using picture stories or parables. He compared the kingdom of God to a seed. The seed must be planted in order to start sprouting and growing. Then it grows and grows on its own. Once a seed has sprouted, do you have to pull on its roots or help to stretch out its leaves and branches? (Children may respond.) No, of course not. The plant gets bigger even if no one is watching it.
When we tell people about Jesus, when we tell them that God loves them and that God sent Jesus to earth to show that love, it’s like planting a kingdom seed. Our words may help to start that person’s faith in God. Even though we help to introduce someone to Jesus, are we the ones who make their faith and trust in Jesus grow? No, God gives us faith, and God makes that faith grow.
It’s always amazing to watch a plant grow. A tiny seed can become a huge plant. A mustard seed, which is as small as the head of a pin, can grow into a huge plant with strong branches where birds can rest and find shelter. We may not think that our own faith is very big, but just like the tiny mustard seed, with God’s help, our faith will grow and grow into something big and strong that can help others.
Prayer: Thank you for the gift of faith, dear Lord Jesus. Help us to plant seeds of your kingdom by introducing others to you, so that you can grow the faith in their lives as well.