ONLY A SEED
by John Miller
When God decides to do something big on earth He starts with something very small. This is a principle of God; a law of heaven. When He brought salvation to the world He started with something very small: a seed -- half-human, half-divine. By His Holy Spirit God planted the seed of salvation in Mary's womb. Who would have thought that this tiny seed would become something, or rather Someone, so great and powerful and have such an impact on mankind?
Just for a moment, we will imagine ourselves as guests at that inn in Bethlehem on that very special night so long ago. There's a knock at the door, and you overhear a voice say, "I'm Joseph. Is there room here for me and my pregnant wife?" We, like the onlookers, probably would not recognize that simple request as one of the beginning chapters of the greatest story ever told. Later, we are witnesses at the manger scene, and we only see a vulnerable baby in a poor and dirty place with a humble donkey tied to the side of the stable -- both are immersed in the silence of the night. Perhaps, in our pity, we wonder, "What does the future hold for this child?" Despite all appearances, He was far from being just the son of indigent travelers. Indeed, He was the greatest child ever to be born among men. The most powerful One of the universe, in the form of a helpless baby, was about to be proclaimed on earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Nevertheless, at that moment, amongst livestock and lowly parents, He goes unnoticed by us and everyone else.
If we are not careful, we can miss the great things of God. We won't see what God is capable of doing with a small seed. Mark 4:28-29 says: For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. Everything starts with a small but powerful seed. From a little acorn, the oak grows and develops into an imposing tree. Even the strong and powerful lion has a small beginning. The seed originates as a "thought" in the heart of God. A man with faith in God knows that what God says will never pass away. Heaven and earth may pass away, but never His Word. He knows if God promises to do something, it will be done. God's thoughts, after being planted in a man's heart, will birth His Word, and that Word will not pass away.
Please, don't despise the day of small things, by disregarding the seeds around you. They are the very things God uses to start His wonderful works. The prophets said that one day a Savior would be born of a virgin; the Psalmist also wrote about it, and, together, they rejoiced because they knew that nothing would impede His coming. Happy is the man who hears the Word of God, and his heart rejoices! I have heard the Word of God and can tell you today that what He promises to do, He will do it!
How often we need reassurance and encouragement because we forget that His Word is powerful. We forget that what God promises will always be fulfilled. Happy is the man who, seeing that the seed has been planted, prepares his sickle! No, never despise a seed when you see how very small it is. Sometimes, when we see something so small we become discouraged and ignore it, thinking it doesn't have much value. We say, "Why do I have to work so hard for something so insignificant? Why do I have to give my life for just a seed?" Ah, but the power hidden in a seed is great! I have seen immense boulders split in two -- the result of a tiny seed germinating in a small crack in the rock, growing into a sapling, all the while plunging its strong roots deep enough to split the rock!
Plant the seed, even though you can't see it grow. Do
something with it! In the parable of the talents recorded in
Matthew, Jesus says, For the kingdom of heaven is as a man
travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and
delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents,
to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his
several ability; and straightway took his journey. (Matthew
When the master returned from his journey, he asked his servants what they had done with the talents. These are their responses:
And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. (Matthew 25:20-29)
What a marvelous parable! One of the servants gained five more talents, and his lord said to him, ...thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things... (v21)
It doesn't say the servant gave back just a little more, but double. How important it is to do something with what He gives, even if it is just a little. Sooner or later we will have to give an account of what we have done with those talents. One day He will ask, "What have you done with what I gave you? What did you do with that idea I gave you?" If God gave you a vision then there is something you need to do with it. If God put a desire in your heart to do something, then there is something that needs to be done with that desire. God first gives us something small to try us; to see if we are worthy or not of thrusting the sickle into the harvest. He says to us, "If you are faithful with the small things then I will give you more." That's how the Lord chooses His workers. That's how He chooses those that He puts over cities and over nations. That's how He chooses those He is going to bless and promote. God watches to see what we will do with the seed. And, in the end, His reward system is wonderful! For being faithful over two He doesn't reward with four, nor does He reward with 2,000, but with 2,000,000! That's the economy of God!
God first of all is looking for those who value what He has given them. Those that don't look to see if it's big or if it's small but look at it as a gift from God Himself and say, "God has given me a seed, and I'm going to plant it. I'm going to apply my all. I'm going to water it and tend it carefully and diligently."
We read about the fearful servant who buried his talent. His
lord asked him, "Did you do something with what I gave
you?" The servant answered, "No, I did nothing with it
other than bury it." He neither took great pains with it nor
set himself to multiply the talent.
So the master gave the order that the one talent that he did have should be taken from him. The servant wasn't fit to keep it because he didn't do a thing with it.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalms 126: 5-6) You will go forth weeping. In other words, it's not going to be easy! An effort on your part will have to be made.
I'd like to share a personal testimony. When we established
the first Christian school in the city of Mar del Plata,
Argentina, it was by no means easy. We ran into every possible
obstacle. I constantly had to go before God during the first
seven years and bring my burden of the school to Him. Our
building didn't fit the government's requirements at that time,
and one year the teachers told me, "John, the government
says that they are not going to permit us to continue the school
this year." We prepared our children during the year, and at
the conclusion of that year the students had to take exams much
more difficult than those of a regular student in an accredited
school. The job was arduous; we all worked without pay. The
teachers were tired and often wanted to quit the battle.
Nevertheless, weeks before the start of the next school year,
everything was resolved. Yes, I had to ask God to intervene many
times. Today this school is a testimony in the city and a
tremendous answer for the children of our orphanage. It's a
covering of protection for the sons and daughters of many
Christians and even unbelievers that attend our school. There is
an atmosphere of love, respect, and Christian principles that the
world does not offer. Nothing that is worthwhile is easy. There
will be lamenting and there will be tears. I assure you that if
everything were so easy, every human being would do great things.
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. (James 5:7-9)
Once the farmer has planted the seed, he has to be very patient. He shouldn't feel frustrated, even though his efforts may seem unproductive. He remains patient, although at first, perhaps he sees nothing more than apparent failure. When you decide that you're going to do something, don't bury the talent; instead, continue patiently in the fight, no matter how much opposition may come. Then you will see the harvest! And then the word in Colossians 1:10 will become a wonderful reality in your life: That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. You will only be able to enjoy the harvest after the exercise of patience!
Planting in the Nations
If you live in Spain, plant the seed in Spain. If you live in Argentina, sow in that field. Do you live in Geneva? Then plant the seed in your beloved Switzerland. Develop what He has given you. Perhaps that seed came in the form of a dream or desire that you have guarded in your heart since your childhood. Plant your seed! Plant it in the land where you are.
In the Chinese language there is a word whose etymology is "danger", but the same word also can be translated as "opportunity." I am interested in every difficulty that comes my way because I look at it as an opportunity. To me, every impossibility is a challenge. When I am told I cannot do something that is the very thing that surely will get done. My father was told that Argentina was a difficult and hard land, where the evangelical vision would not grow. Now, fifty years after starting the work, there are not enough arms to bring in the sheaves. Why? Because there was a man with a vision who saw the opportunity and knew that he would come again with rejoicing. When Moses sent spies into the Promised Land, they returned saying, "Oh! This land will swallow us up! It's a difficult and hard land, and there are giants there!" But Joshua and Caleb returned from the same land exclaiming, "Oh, this land flows with milk and honey!" They all saw the same land, but some saw only danger and difficulty while others opportunity.
Perhaps you see only hardness in the nation where
you live. Don't forget that there are many nations that have
never been cultivated and other nations that have been neglected
for a long time and so have been fallow and sterile for many
years. You say that it's not possible to have success in these
places, but I see an opportunity. Oh, that you could have this
vision and receive this message of encouragement! Oh, that you
could have the necessary patience to water the seed and then reap
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