Matthew 13:31-32 – The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches. (NIV)
When, a few months ago, I wrote Signs of the Season, which was published as the Daily devotional for November 29, 1999, I thought it would just be a nice Christmas-time devotional illustrating the pleasure that small random acts of kindness can bring — a "warm fuzzy", so to speak. I had little idea, however, of just the sort of power that the act of giving a candy cane could unleash. The response to the devotional was overwhelming, not just in the number of responses or in the fact that they were still coming a week after it had appeared, but even more importantly in the nature of the responses themselves. One reader after another said that he or she had been inspired by the devotional to go out and do the same, whether with candy canes or something else; but, whatever the means, to acknowledge the existence of others through some unexpected act of kindness. As my wife and I read these responses, we were both moved by them, and, for me, they became perhaps the best Christmas gift of all.
Reading the responses and seeing the idea spread is much like watching the mustard seed grow. One tiny, seemingly inconsequential action, when shared with others, spreads and triggers a chain reaction of many such actions, which in turn inspire others. As is so often the case, it is not the size of the gift or the eloquence of the words, but the simple act itself and the sincerity that comes from speaking from one's heart that makes the difference. Such is the power of our faith when we take the time to practice it, and, more importantly, to share it with others.
Prayer: Gracious Lord, give us the courage to share our faith with others, especially the strangers that we encounter in our daily activities. May we plant the seeds of faith, whether by word or deed, that from these seeds may spring the church triumphant. Amen.