Today's message is based on Matthew 13: 31-35 and 44-46

One thing we know about Jesus is that he teaches all the time in parables.
He does that, in part because it was predicted that the Messiah would do so.
But he also does that because it is a great way to explain a topic to people.
Use things they understand and can relate to so as to connect the ideas. 

So he often used things like planting and fishing and cooking to teach them.
Today we hear several more, and they all have something in common with each other.
They all talk about how one small thing can grow and develop into much, much more.
The mustard seed, yeast, the one pearl and the treasure - all small items.

This message is important for us to consider and take to heart as we live daily life.
Because too much of the time we get lost trying to focus on grand schemes.
We get overly anxious about large things that can be impossible to see happening.
And we tend to think that smaller or minor accomplishments are not worth much.

But Jesus points out that the mustard seed, though small, grows into a large tree.
That tree then bears much more than you’d think that little seed can do.
A pinch of yeast, though small, can have a dramatic impact on a whole loaf of bread.
One small pearl of great value is worth more than a bucket full of lesser ones.
It’s the idea that a small, but great, thing can do much more than we think.

Jesus says this is what the “kingdom of God” is like.
But we have to remember that when he says “kingdom of Godhe is not just talking about a place, such as heaven.
He is talking about God’s ways in this world as well as the next !
He is referring to how God’s word and Jesus’ message can do great things here.
He is saying that a little bit of God’s love, planted or mixed in, can work wonders.

So, for example…
Clarence Jordan, a Georgia farmer and New Testament scholar decided to start up a small Christian place of respite called Koinonia Farm for spiritual retreats.
One day, Millard Fulmer and his wife visited there and, from that, they were inspired to start up Habitat for Humanity, now a world-wide housing program for the poor.

A 10 year old girl named Clara Barton, whose brother had fallen off a barn roof and who the doctors gave up on, without any training amazingly nursed him back to health.
From that small nursing experience Clara later became a Civil War nurse and then founded the Red Cross, which is now one of the largest agencies in the world.

Danny Thomas, the comedian, was down to his last $7 when he went to church and prayed to St.Jude to help him support his family, including a new baby soon to born.
Soon after that small donation and that simple prayer, Thomas got a good paying gig and later founded St. Jude Children’s hospital which now costs 2 million dollars a day to provide free medical care to kids.

I read a story the other day about a Swedish woman who had given $15 a month to a charity that supported and educated a young boy in Kenya.
Eventually, that boy ended up going to Harvard and started his own charity that has so far done the same for 350 children, changing the lives of them and their families.

And then, of course, there is the story of Jesus.
Who was born in a small town and raised in a small out of the way town, Nazareth.
Who started a small ministry of love with a small band of only 12 disciples.
And who died in a small time event recorded nowhere except by those followers of his.
But look what developed and grew from that small seed of ministry and death.

Small acts of love, compassion and devotion to God’s ways, yield a great deal.
And that is Jesus’ point as he tries to encourage his followers to do just that.
Because our need to always want to see big results, and see them immediately, can dull our enthusiasm for such things.
And, when that happens, we can end up not even doing the small things to begin with.

But if we consider the fact that so many of the great things that happen in the world, today and in the past, come from small starting points,…. we can reassess that idea.
Then our small acts of love goodness can be seen for what they are.
Good, in and of themselves, but also potential seeds that can do a lot more.

Let me just finish by saying Jesus tells us that a little bit of love goes a long, long way.

When I was serving my internship at St. Paul’s Lutheran in Beachwood, I got involved in a Vacation Bible school they held that year.
And I recall a simple little song we had the kids sing as part of their daily activities.
It’s called ‘A Little Bit of Love, Goes a Long, Long Way’.
And I’m gonna sing it to you and then ask you to join with me and sing it too.

So it goes like this;….
A little bit of love goes a long, long way.
A little bit of love goes a long, long way.
Start it in the morning and it lasts all day,
Whoohhh……0oohhh,….a little bit of love. (you wave your hands with the Whooh part)

So let’s all try singing that together, now !

Thanks for helping with the end of the sermon,…. and Amen.