Bible Passage

He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain-first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."

Again he said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade."

Mark 4:26–32


On September 6, 1622, the Spanish galleon Atocha, bristling with bronze cannons and laden with gold and silver, served as the rear guard of a 28-vessel flotilla in the Gulf of Mexico. A hurricane struck, and the Atocha sank near the Marquesas Keys off the Florida coast, where she remained for 365 years.

In the 1980s a treasure hunter and a college professor who had pored over Spanish documents of the voyage found the Atocha. Among those who examined the ship's contents was an archaeologist, and in the sand that had served as its ballast he found something of special interest: seeds. To keep them from drying out he put the seeds in cups of fresh water. Nine days later as he checked the water level in the cups, he made his own surprising discovery: "Suddenly, I saw leaves sticking up," he says. To his astonishment four of the seeds had sprouted.

As this account shows, the seeds of this natural world are miracles endued by God with the power of life. Can the seeds of the spiritual world be any less powerful?

– Craig Brian Larson

Character Check

Where am I planting spiritual seeds?

Something to Think About

"There are long stretches of darkness and invisibility and silence that separate planting and reaping."

 Eugene Peterson


Go Deeper

Spiritual Care

What does it mean to shepherd a soul? As pastor, you know you can't do everything; you need an army of trained shepherds. You'll find help to train them in "The Business of Making Saints," an interview with experienced pastor and writer Eugene Peterson.