A couple months ago I accidently made a new and fairly significant lifestyle choice. I was looking for something – I don’t even remember what it was now – and I found it in a dark corner of a basement closet. In the process of looking for this object I had to move a bunch of other stuff that I own that I had long forgotten about. As I was moving all this stuff I had to ask myself a big question: “Why do I have so much stuff?” And so it began. I began eliminating clutter. It started with that closest. Then my home office. The night stand. Back to the closet. And then my work office. My wife joined me in this new endeavor. We had a garage sale. We filled the trash cans. And we gave away much. We will keep working on decluttering, a seemingly endless chore.
In this decluttering process I decided to actually read some of the books I’ve accumulated over the years. I think I’m on book number eight in two months or so, which is far above my normal reading rate. I’m currently reading One.Life by Scot McKnight. He makes a comment about several of Jesus’ parables. He entitles the section about the mustard seed parable “The Little Is Large.”
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32 NLT
Scot comments, “Mustard seed growth was an experience so common no one even noticed it. Except Jesus. Jesus wants us to imagine a world in which our small actions are seen as significant actions.”
I think Jesus was saying that the biggest things in life are built on the smallest things in life. It is so tempting to think that anything significant must be huge (eliminate poverty), or expensive (diamonds), or elaborate (politics). What if the most meaningful things start with incredibly small things? Could Jesus be correct?
Perhaps Jesus himself really is the best example of this. He was born in a manger, a barn. He was from a neighborhood that was not well respected. His own life started like a small mustard seed. And it didn’t stay small. His impact on humanity is still evident 2000 years later, even from a non-religious point of view. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. The hope of salvation and a changed life is available today through Jesus the Messiah.
Here’s my thought: what would happen if we focused on the small things? What if we gave up some of our “big” things to let small seeds grow? What would happen if we eliminate all the “big” clutter in our lives – the material clutter, financial clutter, and spiritual clutter that so easily consumes us? Would we be better at following the example of Jesus? Would we make more of an impact on the lives of people around us? I think we would turn this world upside down, or maybe turn it right-side up.