How many mustard seeds does it take to make an eight-ounce jar of mustard? It takes about 1,000, says one estimate. A full grown mustard plant can reach ten feet high with a spread of 20 feet. If 1,000 mustard seeds had a chance to grow to full-size plants imagine the vast area they would fill. It would take 32,000 standard sized refrigerators to fill an equivalent area.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air can come and nest in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32)
The Kingdom of Heaven may seem infinitesimal today, like a small mustard seed. Since 1947, the Bulletin of Atomic Science has been keeping an atomic clock, which has become known as the Doomsday Clock. Midnight equals the apocalypse, and the minute hands are adjusted each year according to the matters that threaten our planet. In 1947, the greatest threat was nuclear technology. Today the Bulletin of Atomic Science also considers climate change, the geopolitical environment, the state of global leadership, and emerging technologies that might have the potential to threaten our planet. Last January, the minute hand was adjusted thirty seconds forward. It is now two minutes and thirty seconds to midnight. God’s omnipotence may look more like God’s impotence, given the current trends. Will the Kingdom of Heaven amount to anything?
God promises a day when his power will break forth and the Kingdom of Heaven will come in all its fullness. What appears small and inconsequential today will become magnificent and of great importance tomorrow!
Throughout history we see glimpses of the Kingdom that point to its future fullness. In Wellsboro, there was a glimpse of the Kingdom when churches in the area joined together for a week of prayer in 1876. That week became ten weeks, and a preacher from New York was called in to relieve local clergy. Over 280 people expressed a desire to follow Christ. It was a glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven in its fullness. Such glimpses continue to occur. Despite years of persecution, there are now over 100 million Christians in China.
May the potential concealed in a single mustard seed be a symbol of the great hope and power we have in Christ! Though it may seem small today, his kingdom shall be magnificent!