Jesus says, “The kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. Its the smallest of all the seeds, but when grown, its taller than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the sky come and nest in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32
This summer was full of mustard seeds that the Lord placed in my life. There were seeds that he allowed me to place in the lives of others too. I thought I’d share some major things I learned this summer. Starting with my highlight.
Picture this. It’s the first day in Sunderland, England for the team. As we walk into the church where we meet our hosts, we are greeted by the worst looking garden I have ever seen. An overgrown nightmare that was unkept and a horrible eyesore to look at. Little did I know that it would be me doing the transformation, of what used to be a horrible sight to look at, into something someone might look at and admire.
Weeks go by and nothing is done. So I decided instead of going into schools that week I was going to work on the church garden. This wasn’t my job or the task I was given so I was a bit hesitant about asking. So I throw out the idea to my host, Matt, who was also the pastor of this church plant, to fix this horrible sight and make something new. He absolutely loved the idea and told me that they actually had all the tools I needed to get started. They had an incredible mower, shovels, a weedeater, wheel barrels, etc. Anything you needed to give new life to an overgrown mess. I forgot to mention that the back of the church was a mess as well. So we weren’t just revamping the front of the church, but the back as well.
Question: What tools do you have in your life that you’ve kept hidden that could lead to a new beginning? (If that sparked interest in you, I encourage you to write that one down and process it with someone you look up to.)
Two lads from the church who didn’t have steady jobs decide to show up and help me. Their names are Derek and Al. They worked harder than anyone I have ever met in my life. This was an amazing bonus, because I thought that I would be working on this thing by myself. Later in the week on a day where it was rainy and I was sure I’d be alone, another gent named Daz showed up and helped me! The Lord quickly reminded me that I am never ever alone. We rip up dead plants, chop down crab grass, overgrown palm trees, and throwing out everything. Some plants were an absolute pain to uproot. Their roots were spread so deep that they grew twice as wide as the plant was tall! Crazy to think how small these plants started, yet when not taken care of, they can grow into the foundation around them, and begin taking life from other plants. They become harder to uproot. I remember one plant took us 6 hours to fully uproot. 6 hours! Sounds a lot like sin. Starts little, but can take life from everything around it. Not only on the outside, but beneath the surface also.
We finally strip all the dead plants away after a few days work. We mow the grass, weed eat, spray weed killer, and start getting excited about new plants in the garden. This begins by pulling the last few weeds and tilling the soil to prepare for the new life about to enter it.
I was on my hands and knees moving soil around one afternoon. The thought came to my mind that when God was making us from the dirt, did he form us with his hands? Did he sculpt us and draw every single detail on our hands, our eyes, and mouths? Did he marvel at what he was making? I like to think so. That he got down in the dirt, his best creative medium, and sculpted us limb from limb. Then God steps back in awe of what He has created, and breathes his life into our bones. THAT was an amazing picture to me. Im excited to ask him about it in heaven.
After many days of sweat and blood, we finally finished the first step into a new church garden. Al and Derek still take care of this garden to this day. The back of the church is revamped too. We cleaned out an old waterfall, cleared weeds of a strawberry plant, and cleaned up and area that you couldn’t even walk through because it was so overgrown. This was definitely the highlight of my summer. Id love to tell you more about it in person if you’re interested.
This summer was full of me scattering mustard seeds. I went into many schools and taught so many kids about who Jesus is. I shared stories from the Bible, played lots of soccer with kids, and simply showed love to kids who have parents that just don’t tell their kids that they love them or are proud of them.
I learned that love is patient. It's the first quality of love. I discovered how to rest in God and God alone. I learned how my past experiences can become my testimony that can influence how someone else lives their life for the better. I learned how to work with elementary school kids, which is something I NEVER thought I would do. I learned about God’s will, and how to rest in His will for my life. I learned that I was ignorant, and that America is not the only country on the earth that God loves. The Lord loves his people everywhere. I learned that God had one son, and that son was a missionary. I learned how parents can love and respect each other in marriage. I learned about unconditional love a father can have for his son. I learned how to serve a family that constantly serves me. I learned how to love myself and to see myself the way that God sees me. I learned how to be a better listener. I learned that God still heals people from brokenness and sickness. I learned that I never learned how to develop my emotions. Working on that one currently.
I also learned why Jesus compared his kingdom to a mustard seed. In Jerusalem, mustard seeds were banned from being inside the city walls. They spread and overtake whatever plant is around it. They grow into the walls, into the foundation, and can grow in a desert wasteland. That is incredible to me. All the small little mustard seeds that God allowed me to plant, will grow in the dry parts of Sunderland, and the other dry places in Europe that I visited.
This summer I got to lead worship in England, pray over the streets of Dublin, Ireland, the streets of London, UK, lead worship in Lyon, France, serve in Sunderland, lead worship in Germany, and scatter mustard seeds all over Europe.
This is the beginning of a lifetime of scattering mustard seed in Europe. Lets go.