Parable of the Mustard Seed, Matthew 12:31-32

Just these two verses have given me plenty to think about. I know that some say birds in parables are evil, based on the birds that pluck the seed sown on the ground in the parable of the sower. But, here there doesn’t seem to be negativity; it seems to be a simple statement: birds will come to perch in the branches.

Birds perch in branches for the obvious reasons: to rest and to get away from predators. But if we ponder birds more, we see that birds sit in trees for many reasons.

Shade: Birds gather to get out of sunlight and cool for a bit before continuing on their way.

Shelter: Birds find shelter from storms in the branches and under the leaves of the trees.

Food: Birds find nourishment in trees, berries are quite popular for birds to seek out and nibble.

Family: Birds clearly also make their nests in trees; they raise their young.

Rest: Birds find rest and sleep in tree branches. They maintain the nest for their young, but do not sleep in it; they sleep on branches.

Protection: Lastly, birds are able to get away from the neighborhood cat and other predators. They can scan the area for threats and hide in the leaves if necessary.

The kingdom of God is not only a place yet to be seen. It is the part of heaven which we live out now. It is the life we live, the gospel within us and among us. We ourselves and others around us come to the gospel for all of the same reasons that birds perch in trees. We seek respite from the pressures in our lives, like the shade. We seek a refuge in times of trouble and storms. We often look for nourishment of our souls in relationships with Christ and others. We raise up others in Christ, whether blood-related or spirit-related, young Christians are born and receive nourishment from the Kingdom on earth. We rest and are restored when in the presence of God, in worship, quiet times and fellowship. The protection we receive in the kingdom may not keep us from harm, but protects and upholds our faith, strengthening one another in the adversities of life. We seek these comforts in the Lord, his word and family; and He always provides it. Just a few chapters earlier, Jesus says ‘seek and you will find’, and indeed in here seeking him in our time of need will affirm this. What we seek, we will find. (Matt 7:7-8)

We are like the birds perching in the branches when we come to the kingdom; we too find shade, shelter, food, family, rest, and protection in its branches.

The word of the Lord is living and breathing; how else could I find so many words to say about two little verses. Perhaps in this I am beginning to understand what meditating on the word is. I find much is revealed in simply considering the situation, circumstance and images that the words describe.