Matthew 13:24-35 (ESV)

24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” 31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” 34 All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. 35 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”

Jesus taught about a sower again, yet from a different angle. In this parable, the farmer sows his seed, but his enemy sows weeds right alongside the good seed. When the farmer’s wheat grows up, weeds crop up too. The farmer’s servants ask as if they should pull up those weeds. The farmer tells them to wait until the end, so that none of the wheat will be harmed. At the right time, God’s agents will remove the wicked from the righteous. Then, in verse 31, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed. Although the mustard seed is very small, it grows into a large tree. Jesus drew attention to the contrast between the little seed itself and the result of the seed’s growth, which was a magnificent tree. In verse 33, Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven as leavened bread. A little amount of leaven, or last week’s dough, mixed into flour, would soon spread throughout the entire loaf. Again, the contrast is between the small portion of leaven and the result of its dispersion throughout the entire bread.

Many of Jesus’ opponents considered his work insignificant. Jesus certainly didn’t arrive with a lot of pomp and spectacle, so he was often rejected. But he encouraged those who were with him to be forward-thinkers. Just like the tiny seed became a huge tree and the small amount of leaven affected the entire bread loaf, so too would the efforts of Jesus and the disciples have large and widespread results. Even in the face of continual opposition, the disciples were to keep things going. It only takes a spark to create a forest fire. Do you ever feel like your effort for the kingdom of God isn’t really making a difference? Do you feel your contribution to the work Jesus has called you to is trivial or insignificant? If so, put yourself in the mindset of the disciples. As they followed Jesus, they didn’t own much, they were few in number, and they were continually criticized and rejected. Yet we can clearly see how God used their work of faith to turn the world upside down. If you are serving Jesus today, keep going! Your labor in his name will have lasting results. And if you aren’t serving Jesus, get on board. Let’s not miss out on what God can do through our obedient choices. Your sacrifice for Jesus makes an eternal difference.