While living in our super-sized, larger-than-life media world we are tempted to want bigger, better, more powerful possessions in our rec rooms, our garages or our tool sheds. We look around at what others have; our own stuff doesn't seem to measure up, and we feel sad, neglected and unloved. In all sorts of ways "sin, death and the devil" taunt us, "Is that all you get?"
Time and time again scripture has stories and images of abundance that arises out of seeming scarcity—tiny mustard seeds, a boy's lunch of bread and fish, a shortage of wine at a wedding at Cana, meager oil and meal that persist during a famine, trembling disciples shaken to the core by Good Friday. Perhaps when we look longingly at our empty hands or glance in the mirror with self-pity, then we need God to remind us that it is not about us or the size of our contributions.
God continues to bring much more than we could ever have anticipated from our meager offerings. But it is always so that there will be room and life and welcome for the "birds of the air." Now who might those be?
God, forgive our disbelief, our coveting and our self-serving pity. Move us towards belief, seeing the needs around us and other-loving generosity. Amen.
Mark 4:26-34 (NRSV)
26 He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,
27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.
28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.
29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come."
30 He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?
31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;
32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;
34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.