Small Beginnings, Great Growth

Sometimes God begins with the small things, like a mustard seed. Then He helps it grow. Very often that meets us at our comfort level too, so we are willng to do more. Often the greatest things have come from the smallest, so have faith and trust God.

Scripture: Mark 4:30-32, 2 Timothy 2:2


Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Well, I want you to come with me, if you will, to the fourth chapter of Mark and let’s look at verse 30. Jesus said, “Where unto shall we liken the kingdom of God or with what comparison shall we compare it”, well He said, “it’s like a grain of mustard seed which when it is sown in the earth, is less and policies of be in the earth, but when it is sown”, or planted that means, “it groweth up and becomes greater than all herbs, shooteth out great branches so the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it”. Small beginnings, great development, that’s obvious on the face of, isn’t it? Encyclopedia Britannica says that the mustard plant can grow up to 15 feet tall, and that very frequently, as matter-of-fact the birds do lodge under the shadow of its leaves. Very young mustard leaves are used for food and the oil of mustard is used for poultice. Did you ever have a mustard plaster? They’ve sort of gone out of vogue, haven’t they, in the last 30 or 40 years. I can remember as a boy, that a mustard plaster was what was supposed to be applied if you had a crick in your back or a sprain somewhere, because it’s a counter irritant and it produces an extra flow of blood and a sensation of warmth in the affected member.
Well, the Lord Jesus was using familiar objects to explain eternal truth. Small thought here preacher; let your illustrations be the kind that people understand, where they can say, “Oh yeah I know, I’ve been there, and I’ve had that experience too”. I sometimes refer to the fact that as a high school boy in the college boy I worked in a garage, I was a garage man for some time, and when I make reference to some of these mechanical things, I always get a grateful card or letter from some listener that says, “I know what you’re talking about, because”, either the person says, “I do work or I have worked on cars”. Well see, people understand that. Our Lord Jesus spoke about birds and flowers and sheep and goats and cows and fish and vines and branches and fruit, “I am the good shepherd”. Everybody understood what that was. I don’t suppose people would understand it quite so much today. You might have say, I’m with them the good social worker. That’s the nearest thing that some people have to anybody that cares about them, sadly enough. Preacher, use your illustrations in terms of things that people can identify with. Jesus did. The greatest teacher in all of history, in all of time or eternity, is the Lord Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord, and He talked about things that people knew about. You and I cannot better, His methods. We better adopt them and use them. Mustard seed and plant. Small beginning, great development. Now, you can apply that to your own life and be greatly encouraged. How many people in your Sunday school class, you say to me rather embarrassingly, “Well I’ve only got three”. Don’t see only. One of them might be another D.L. Moody. I don’t suppose that the faithful Sunday school teacher, who looked up young D.L. Moody and led him to the Lord one day, young shoe clerk it was, what he was, and intent on successful business career. He had a great business head on him and would have amassed a fortune had he not heard the call of God to go full-time into Christian work and later worldwide evangelism and all that. So this faithful Sunday school teacher looked him up and talked to him about a soul and led him to Jesus that day. One person later to shake the whole world for God. So, don’t say I don’t have three. You must realize with me, that God begins with small things and He makes them grow, and you can add one more to your class if you go out and find somebody. That’s what Moody did. You want to teach Sunday school class in Chicago, they said, “We have enough teachers. If you want a class, go round some people up yourself”, and so he did and brought this ragtag bunch of young ruffians back into Sunday school, and that was his class and he taught them. You can find somebody if you go look for them.

JC Massey was one of my teachers when I was in seminary, and he of course, was famous for evangelism and also famous as the pastor of large churches. There was one interlude in his life when he was called to be the pastor of Tremont Temple in Boston. That imposing edifice is still standing there, just across the street from Park Avenue church, by Boston Commons. Great, big auditorium holding I don’t know how many thousands of people, and it scares you just to go into it. I’ve preached therenumber of times and I never do so without being overawed by the size and the prestige of the place. Anyhow, Dr. Massey was called, and he was in any evangelism at the time, he was called to be pastor of Tremont Temple, Boston, and his friend said to him, “Don’t do it. Boston is the graveyard of evangelism. Nobody is ever successful there. The churches are dead and you’ll die. It’ll ruin your career”. Well, he felt constrained as he prayed about it, constrained by the Holy Spirit say yes to the call and he went. He told us fellas in seminary said, “You know I made up my mind that I was going to win one soul a week, myself, and have that person ready to come down the I when I gave the gospel invitation”, and he said, “It worked”, he said, “every week I went and looked for somebody that I could win to the Lord Jesus Christ and have them ready to come down the aisle to confess Christ publicly, when I gave the gospel invitation”, and he said, “It never failed, but that others would be encouraged as well to come to Christ”, and he said, “We had a great time there”, and indeed he did. People still talk about the great pastorate of JC Massey. Well, Sunday school teacher, you may have a small class, but you can go get one other person and it can grow, and then you can teach your class to share their faith with other people. Have you realized that? Sunday school teaching is not simply pouring the contents of the quarterly into empty minds, ram it in, cram it in, children’s heads are hollow. Ram it in, cram it in, still there’s more to follow. You know the old saying? No, that isn’t just the reality of it, that’s not the essence of it, Sunday school teaching is fitting your students for living for God. Part of that is 2 Timothy 2:2, “The things which thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who should be able to teach others also”. It was Paul to Timothy, to faithful people, to many others. Multiplication, sharing the things and the person whom you have met. Sharing your Savior with other people, sharing your knowledge of the word of God with other people. That’s your job, when you face your Sunday school class. You can teach them then to speak with others about the Lord Jesus Christ. Your class will grow not only because you go out and find somebody, but because your class members are out there winning others to Jesus Christ and bringing them in to be taught. You follow me? Some of the great churches in our country have been built around that very principle.

Years ago when I was in the pastorate, I heard of a large church in Detroit that was growing, growing, it so large and I thought I want to find out how they do this, and so I got permission from my deacons to be away from the church for a long weekend, and I went to Detroit. Got in touch with the powers that be there at the church, and told them why I was there. I wanted to observe and see how things worked. Well, I found that the program itself depended upon one night a week, everybody going out calling door-to-door, inviting people to church. They had hundreds of people out on a what was a Tuesday night I guess, knocking on doors, following up contacts, following of people who had been in Sunday school and then who were absent, find out if they were sick or whatever, and then making sure that they came to Sunday school the next Sunday, and always, in all classes, there was opportunity given to trust Christ as Savior. While I was being shown around the place, the man who was my guide, stopped a moment and pointed at a certain individual, said, “See that man there?”, I said, “Yes”. He was one to Christ in our Sunday school on the 13th visit”, said, “People called on him and he was always drunk, he was an alcoholic and abusive, he wanted nothing to do with the Lord. They would call on him, inviting to Sunday school. They’d come on Sunday and inviting him and he would almost literally throw them out. One Sunday however, as they continued, they knocked on the door, found him hung over. He lived by himself and he’d come home drunk the night before, been sicken and he was in bad shape, and he was hung over, but somehow he just he said to them, “Well fellas, if you’ll clean me up and give me some breakfast and get me dressed, I’ll go with you”. Well, they did. I think I would’ve left him in the mess that he was in, but they did, they cleaned him up and they gave him some coffee, and cooked him some breakfast and dressed him up, and brought him to Sunday school, and that Sunday he was gloriously saved. The chains of alcohol were broken and Jesus Christ became Lord of his life. So you can teach your people. Small beginnings, yes, small beginnings, yes, but dear friend, you can teach your people the joy of sharing Christ in going after the lost and keeping after them until they come to the Lord Jesus Christ. Small beginnings, great, great growth. Let God show you the secretive Christian success in the kind of growth that depends upon one person reaching another and then that person still reaching another, and you have multiplication. You start with one penny and double it every day for 30 days, you’ll be a millionaire, you know that. It doesn’t take long when God the Holy Spirit begins to work in people’s lives and they have been taught how to share their faith with others. Small beginnings, great growth. It can be yours beloved, by the grace of God.

Dear Father today, may we be true to Thee in little things so that Thou canst make our work grow, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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