6 December 2023

Even a tiny seed can develop great power and grow big. Regardless of one’s gifts, shortcomings, and personal past, everyone can be a source of blessing.

Chief Apostle Ernst Streckeisen was the last Chief Apostle to visit Misiones, an isolated province in the north-eastern part of Argentina. This was back in 1978. Now, 45 years later, it was time for another visit by a Chief Apostle. On 13 October 2023, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider visited the town of Montecarlo and ministered to around a thousand members from the region and from the neighbouring country of Paraguay.

When Christ came to earth, the Jews had a certain notion of what the kingdom of God was like. Using parables, Jesus explained aspects of the kingdom of God to them. In this divine service, Chief Apostle Schneider interpreted the parable of the mustard seed: “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches’” (Matthew 13: 31–32).

This mustard seed is much smaller than many other seeds you plant in the garden, Chief Apostle Schneider said, and yet it grows into a large shrub: “The growth of a seed does not depend on its size. It depends on the life, on the power that is contained in the seed.”

Small seed – Jesus Christ

The image of the mustard seed first of all refers to Jesus Christ, the Chief Apostle said. “And that is easy to understand. He came on earth as a baby. He was placed in a manger. A small, a tiny seed, it was nothing. And even when He began His activity, He entered Jerusalem riding a donkey, not as a great king, not with a powerful army, but in a humble way.”

Even so, no one could hinder Him from fulfilling His mission. Because this little seed was full of divine life. “This divine life lived in Him, and guided by the Holy Spirit He was able to fulfil the will of God. And that was the power that brought about this wonderful growth in Him.”

However, the parable of the small seed did not appeal to the Jews because according to their beliefs the prophets had announced a Messiah. They announced that the Messiah would be a wonderful, great, and tall tree.

Christ did not live up to their idea of the promised deliverer: “He Himself was a mustard tree, not a great, majestic cedar tree, because even at the end of His journey He was still a humble man. They hung Him on a cross and He was weak. He was alone, abandoned. This was far removed from a majestic tree.”

Human beings will only be able to see His power and glory when Jesus returns.

Small seed – the church of Christ

Again and again, the kingdom of God is compared to the church of Christ. The image of the small mustard seed also applies here, Chief Apostle Schneider said. “To establish His church on earth, Jesus called a few disciples, a small flock. They were not educated. They were fishermen or something else. They were actually the lowest level of society.”

But as soon as the Apostles began with their mission, the power and life in this seed unfolded. During all these centuries, the church of Christ continued to grow and many, many people from all nations came to believe in Jesus Christ and decided to follow Him. This development was only possible through the presence of the Holy Spirit and because the Apostles carried out the commission given them by Christ.

The Chief Apostle pointed out that church of Christ is a mustard tree and not a majestic cedar: “The only thing I can see are imperfect sinners.” The visible part of the church reflects the shortcomings of its members. The full glory of the church will also only be revealed in the new creation.

Small seeds – the believers

“From the beginning, God used tiny seeds to fulfil His mission.” The image of the small mustard seed also applies to the believers. Chief Apostle Schneider cited two examples from Holy Scripture:

  • Moses was a criminal who couldn’t speak properly.
  • Paul was initially an opponent of the church and also not a great speaker; and he was sickly.

Both could be described as a tiny seed, but once they allowed themselves to be guided by the will of God both became a great source of blessing for all believers, right up to the present day. Some may say: “God, I’m so weak. I don’t have any special gifts.” But the following applies to all of us: “If we allow ourselves to be guided by His Spirit and are determined to do His will, God can make us a source of blessing for others, regardless of our gifts, our shortcomings, and our past.”

Even believers will initially remain anything but perfect. Our glory will only be revealed after the resurrection.