Lights, Seeds, and the Kingdom

Getting Started

How does it feel when you are given something extremely valuable, like a meaningful heirloom, the care of an expensive car, or the supervision of someone else’s children? What is it like when a friend entrusts you with his or her deep thoughts, emotions, or a secret? In today’s passage, we get the sense that Jesus is entrusting something very valuable to us. Jesus is graciously challenging us to care well for what we have been given.

  • Ask the Lord to help show you, from this passage, the valuable things that he has entrusted to you.

Read The Word:  Mark 4:21-34 (ESV)

21 And he said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” 24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. 25 For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Digging Deeper

  1. What is the main point of the analogy about putting a lamp on a stand and not under a bed? What was Jesus saying?
  2. Verses 24-25 describe the way things work in regard to the exercising of our gifts, talents, and faith. If we use them, they grow, and if we don’t use them, they shrink. Think of an example of how this works in your day-to-day life.
  3. In verses 26-29, what did the man do and what did the earth do? What is the relationship between these two?
  4. Make a list of the ways the Kingdom of God like a mustard seed (vss. 30-32).
  5. How can you use your life to shine the light of God’s love and spread the Kingdom of God?

Respond to God

It is humbling to think that Jesus has entrusted his words and the message of his Kingdom to us! While the work of changing lives and causing the Kingdom to grow rests on Christ’s shoulders alone (vss. 26-29), we must not ignore the opportunity to keep our lamps lit and visible and to scatter the seed of God’s word wherever and whenever we can. We might feel small and insignificant, but God can use us to provide the cool shade of his love to others.

Spend some time talking with and listening to the Lord.

  • Ask him to reveal ways you can make your lamp more visible. Confess to him ways you have kept your lamp hidden.
  • Ask God to show you anyone in your life that he wants you to pray for or reach out to.
  • Thank him for the honor of being his message bearer!