He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 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.”
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
In the parable of the growing seed, we as disciples are the sower again. The message is relatively simple. We cannot understand what causes faith to grow in someone. We can plant the seed by sharing the gospel with them, and we can “harvest” them by taking them to church, discussing the gospel with them, helping them get baptized, or whatever they need once that seed as germinated and they are ready for the next step. But we have no control over whether the Holy Spirit takes root in their heart or not. What’s more, we can’t even understand why it does or doesn’t. We have to leave that up to God, and trust in His grace and Spirit. But we do need to keep an eye on that person and be ready when they are ready.
The parable of the mustard seed tells us that it doesn’t take much to plant that seed in another person. Even the smallest word or action of kindness could be enough for the Holy Spirit to start taking root in their heart. They don’t need a whole grand speech complete with powerpoint and mood music. (Not to say there isn’t a place for that. Maybe it’s more a part of the harvesting step.) It’s the little things we do that can help someone see Christ in our lives. Things like smiling at someone who looks sad, sick, stressed, tired, or just different than us. Yet these little deeds can grow into the largest faiths! Isn’t Christ amazing like that?