thinking out loud

…things that are on my mind, heart, and soul

Mustard Seeds and Soccer Balls

Jesus said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” (Mark 4:30-32)

Yesterday in our worship gathering I shared some reflections on “creating the future one mustard seed at a time.” I lifted that phrase from Tom Sine and his latest book, The New Conspirators. In the forward to the book, Sine quotes Shane Claiborne (who is actually quoting songwriter Martyn Joseph’s song, “Strange Way”):

“What a strange way to start a revolution. . . And what a strange way to end a world tour.” We worship the seed that died. The revolution will not be televised. It will not be brought to you by Fox News with commercial interruptions. It will not be sandwiched between ads to accelerate you life or be all you can be. There will be no re-runs. The revolution will be live. The revolution will be in the streets. The revolution will be cleaning toilets and giving another blanket to Karen. The revolution will not be talking about poverty in hotel banquet rooms. It will be eating beans and rice with Ms. Sunshine and watching Back to the Future with our neighbor Mary. Get ready, friends… God is preparing us for something really, really – small.

Eugene Peterson reminds us that “the metaphors Jesus used for ministry are frequently images of the single, the small and the quiet, which have effects far in excess of their appearance: salt, leaven, and the seed.”

World Vision has launched an opportunity to bless children and their communities one soccer ball at a time. Children love soccer. But many of the world’s children live in poverty and have never played with a real toy — let alone a real soccer ball. Instead, they play with balls made of rags, banana leaves, or wads of plastic tied together with string. I see a soccer ball as a mustard seed – a small, seemingly insignificant thing – when given in faith, hope, and love it can bring blessing, joy, and help advance the kingdom. I know firsthand the difference a soccer ball can make. I had the privilege of sharing one with my sponsored child, Mandela during my visit to Ethiopia. It was a true joy for me to kick it around with him. And I pray often for him and ask that every time Mandela kicks that ball he would know in some way that there is a God who loves him dearly.

World Vision’s goal is to place 75,000 soccer balls on the feet of children around the globe. You could be a part of the solution. You can make a donation on-line – $16 will provide two new soccer balls. Or if you are in the Pittsburgh area, let me know and I would be glad to collect your gift and deliver it to the World Vision Distribution Center in Sewickley.

Stay connected…


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have the peace that passes understanding at the heart of yourself, but do not be at peace with the world. for the world is more malleable than we think and we must wrestle it from fools. (bono)
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