The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A man takes a mustard seed and sows it in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up, it is the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nests in its branches.
The Kingdom of heaven is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with a bushel of flour until the whole batch of dough rises.
A tiny seed. A little bit of yeast. Both can yield miraculous results.
I really don’t like to think about my college years. Although I did OK with my studies, everything else in my life was totally off the rails. Totally. No, I’m not going to provide any gory details, but trust me, I was a train wreck.
During my college years I had a job working for the Amoco Motor Club processing membership materials and routing people on trips. It was a lot of fun. I worked with about 50 other college students and “townies” and we all worked in one big room. There was plenty of opportunity to talk and laugh and make friends so we all got to know each other pretty well.
Most of the people I worked with were pretty much like me. Typical fun-loving young people who didn’t have any interest in going to church. There was one person who didn’t fit in with the rest of us. Her name was Vicky Williams. She was a black girl who always dressed like a little lady with her long plaid skirts, crisp white blouses, and sensible shoes. She was always friendly, but she didn’t talk much. But apparently she did a lot of listening and watching.
Eventually she said that she was leaving Amoco because she was quitting school to marry a young man who was planning to go into the ministry. On her last day she gave me a little note. It looked like this:
Not my style for sure, especially at that time. Sickly sweet. Yellow. Ick. Anyway, I opened it up and here’s what it said:
I really was offended. I immediately focused in on the part where she said it was “an experience” working with me. Who was she to judge me? Oh well. I figured that she had left us all with a little parting evangelical reprimand, so I asked around, “Did you get a note from Vicky?” No, no one else had received a note from her. Then I was really insulted! Why did she single me out? Was I really that much worse than everybody else? What did I ever do to her? I was pissed.
I swear I threw that note away. But then it turned up. Then when I moved I thought sure I got rid of it, but it turned up again. I moved about 10 times after that, always losing lots of stuff in the process, but I never lost that note. It’s always been with me no matter what.
I think that little note is perfect example of a mustard seed, or a bit of yeast. Vicky saw inside me and through me to the person God created me to be. She saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. She told me that it was possible to have real peace and joy. Even though I was annoyed at the time, her words got into my head. She gave me hope. And she was concerned for me. That was what got to me the most, I think, that tone of concern. It was an expression of love. Even though it took me about 8 years to take her advice, the seed that Vicky planted took root. The yeast did its work and the bread finally began to rise. My life began to change and I found that peace and joy. My life began to bear good fruit as I ventured into the Kingdom of God.
I have no idea what happened to Vicky. I wish I could tell her how much I have appreciated that sweet little note throughout the years. I wish I could tell her that I, too, ended up being a pastor’s wife. I wish we could get together and chat about Jesus and seeds and miracles and the work of the Holy Spirit and ministry and the Kingdom of God. Hopefully some day that will happen, if not in this world then in the next.
What does this scripture say to you?