He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."
~ Matthew 13:31-32
While reading Matthew chapter 13 in my personal devotions the other day, I came upon Jesus' Parable of the Mustard Seed, which struck me differently this time than it ever has before. And I wanted to share with my readers the big truth I feel God speaking to me through these 2 short verses.
Do you ever get discouraged in your role as a mother that the little, seemingly insignificant things you do for your children each day really don't matter a whole lot in the big scheme of things? You know, little things like comforting and praying with your child when he has a bad dream in the middle of the night, cancelling all your day's plans when he's sick and needs you to stay home to care for him, or giving him your full attention when he needs to talk about something that's important to him (even though the subject at hand may bore you to no end). Or how about helping your child memorize a Bible verse for Sunday School, reading an inspirational story to her, or giving her wise advice about a difficult situation she's facing with one of her friends?
Each little thing you do to nurture and develop your child's character and health is like the little mustard seed which the farmer planted that grew into a large garden tree so big and sturdy that birds could perch in its branches. These little things we are frequently called to do as mothers add up to have a huge impact on the character and well-being of our children as they grow into adulthood. If we have been careful to take the time to teach and nurture them, then they will grow up to be healthy, strong, wise adults of noble character.
Just as the tree in Jesus' parable grew to be so large and strong that it became a safe home for birds to live in, I hope and pray that my children will grow up to be morally and spiritually strong adults who are a blessing and a help to others. Because of the selfless love and godly training we as parents have poured into their lives, they will be better enabled to have a greater impact on those whose lives they touch.
But this will take time. Many years of time! This time will fly by and our children will be grown and ready to "leave the nest" before we know it (as elderly people at the grocery store often tell me as I pass by with my cart packed full of food and my 3 kids in tow). So let us prayerfully make the most of the time we have with our little ones to mold and train, nurture and teach them in every way that the Lord provides.
Then, when they are all grown up and living lives on their own, we will be able to sit back and see the fruit of all our years of loving labor that we poured into their lives while they were home with us. I can't wait to see how God uses my children for His kingdom and glory! But for now, it is my all-important responsibility as their mother to keep planting those little seeds of love into their lives, watering them with the Living Water (John 4:10-14), and nurturing them with the Living Bread (John 6:51).
Some days are hard and I just can't see much progress, but that is because they are still growing! They are like baby plants who are just beginning to bud and grow fruit. So with God's help and strength and wisdom, I will keep on watering, nurturing and caring for my little plants each day. And I will keep my goal for them in mind - that they will grow into strong, mature, capable, wise adults who bring God glory in who they've become and all that they do.