Blessed… A Little Goes A Long Way

He told another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and planted in his field.  It’s the smallest of all seeds. But when it’s grown, it’s the largest of all vegetable plants. It becomes a tree so that the birds in the sky come and nest in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-32, Common English Bible).

Every once in a while I catch the television magazine show, Texas Country Reporter. I really enjoy the show and wish I could watch it more often than it seems I can see it. Something else often gets in the way.

This past Saturday, as it turns out, was a day I was able to watch the show. I saw a feature on a jewelry designer named Marcie Finney Ditto of Ft. Worth. In recent years, her jewelry she designs has featured mustard seeds. Though she did not say this, I thought, “from something small comes something that thrives.” Without question Marcie is not the biggest jewelry manufacturer in the world. She isn’t even the biggest in Texas, nor does she want to be. She is, however building something faithful for the future for both herself and her family, from mustard seeds.

Jesus compares the mustard seed to the Kingdom of Heaven. The seed is small but from it grows a great tree, big enough that birds can build nests.

Our faith is like that. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to see great results. Jesus says that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. It absolutely can change lives.

I think most of us have heard stories of people checking into hotel rooms whose lives are in shambles, some even have plans of suicide. They pick up the Gideon Bible in the room and begin reading and it changes everything for them. The Gideons placed the Bible in the room in hopes that it might change someone’s life. They planted a mustard seed. It grew and made a difference.

For years now, when someone comes into my church seeking help, they, more often than not get help. They also leave with a Bible. What good is meeting the physical need if the spiritual life remains undernourished. I can’t solve every problem, but I can at least address that problem.

For Marcie Finney Ditto, the mustard seed goes beyond being part of her jewelry. It is something she takes very seriously. Every piece of jewelry goes to the customer in a velvet bag. Inside the bag is a card along with what Marcie calls seed money. She places two one dollar bills inside the bag with the instructions to use the money to perform a random act of kindness. It might be to buy someone a bottle of cold water or help that person who is just a little short of a needed gasoline purchase. The what isn’t as important as the action. What Marci is doing is taking mustard seeds, two one dollar bills, and planting them in the hands of her customers who in turn plant them in the world. I think it might just be turning into something very special and far bigger than a simple seed.

How are you planting mustard seeds, seeds of faith in the world?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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