The Alaska State Fair is held annually in late August, in Palmer, about 42 miles northeast of Anchorage. This is not your typical agricultural show. Here, farmers from the Matanuska-Susitna Valley routinely display vegetables of gargantuan sizes – a 138-pound cabbage, 65-pound cantaloupe, and 35-pound broccoli. You might even get to see a 1,780-pound pumpkin!
While the growing season is so much shorter there than in the rest of the United States, the 19 hours of daylight in late spring and early summer yield amazing results. So we can imagine what they could do with a mustard seed!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes the kingdom of God using the parables of a wheat field and a mustard seed. We are told that when the wheat field has matured, it is immediately harvested. From the mustard seed comes a giant bush big enough for birds to live in its shade.
Our faith in Jesus sprouts from the tiniest seeds of faith planted upon our hearts. How large it grows depends on us. We are given the gift of faith, but it is always our choice whether or not to accept and act on the gift we have been given. Will we water? Will we weed?
The kingdom of God is here for our habitation and our building. Things get in our way, however, impeding us from doing our best at watering and weeding. The list is endless as to what can pull us away from our number one priority – to cultivate God’s kingdom that rests on our hearts. It’s not that these other pursuits are not valuable or important, but let us strive to not allow them to obstruct our relationship with God.
The people who show their crops at the Alaska State Fair accept and act upon that which they have been given. They take advantage of every moment of their short growing season in order to produce “fruit” [and vegetables] worthy of admiration and praise. They work with what God has given them, and cultivate their harvest, and their proverbial mustard seeds, carefully.
Life is always going to be full of choices. Let us strive to make choices that lead us closer to God and one another, and not farther away. When harvest time comes and the sickle swings, we want to be gathered up into God’s storage barns, that is, into his Kingdom. The last thing anyone wants is to be cast aside. Cast aside in this life, or in the next.
Will we water? Will we weed? It is always our decision to make.
* * *