Shhh, It's A Secret

November 2, 2016
by Judith Welch

Mark 8:17b-18 – Do you still not understand? Are your minds closed? You have eyes: can you not see? You have ears: can you not hear? Have you forgotten? (NEB)

My friend, Anne, has the reputation of being an excellent story teller. She tells her stories at the museum where she volunteers and at various group meetings. She is also on the schedule to give the children's sermons several times a year at the church where she is a member.

Even though Anne and I no longer live in the same city, we have remained friends and have kept in touch via email. Frequently, she asks me to co-author her children's sermons. Last summer when her pastor asked her to teach the children The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:30-32, Luke 13:18-19), she asked me to help. Because Anne knows that I like to read about the plants of the Bible, she asked me if I knew and could write something about the mustard seed that is unique and would help the children to remember the parable. I told her that I did, and that I would write it as a "secret message".

A few weeks before it was time to tell her story, Anne planted some mustard seeds in small containers. They grew about eight inches tall by the time that she was scheduled to give her children's sermon.

After she read The Parable of the Mustard Seed and explained its meaning to the children, she gave a plant to each child. Then she asked the children if they knew that there was a secret message hidden in the mustard plant. She encouraged them to water and nurture their plants so that the plants would bloom. Then, she taught them a new word: "cruciferous". The mustard plant is a member of the cruciferous vegetable plant family. "Cruciferous" means "cross-bearing". Anne told them that when their plants bloom, they would learn the secret message, because the blossom of the mustard plant has two long petals and two short petals that form the shape of a cross. The cross is the symbol of our faith that reminds us of the unselfish love that our Saviour has for us.

Perhaps the next time when you eat cauliflower or broccoli or any of the other cruciferous vegetables, or maybe when you spread mustard on your favourite sandwich, you'll think of The Parable of the Mustard Seed, and remember its secret message.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You show us in so many ways how much Your Son, Jesus, loved us when He died on the cross to save us from our sins. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear so that we might understand Your messages. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Judith Welch <>
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for sharing Judith.

    I didn’t know that! God is so awesome!

    Well done. His is what the children need to hear.

    Thank you for your devotional. I am a bit wiser now.

    What a fabulous message for children and adults alike!! God bless you.

    What a delightful story.
    Thanks for sharing it. As a plant lover I appreciate it.

    Judith, thank you for sharing this message with us. I learned something today about the mustard plant. Blessings.

    Wow! That is so beautiful! I can’t wait to use that somehow with my own little Sunday School group. Thank you so much.

    I am 79 and I grew up in a farming family but today I have learned a new thing. Thanks. A powerful lesson for all of us, especially children.

    Thanks, Judith. A great message for us. And… you and your friend are very creative in the way you explain the gospel.

    A wonderful story. The Bible is full of stories like the mustard seed; it’s no wonder it has captivated people throughout the ages.
    Thank you!

    Thank you for this message, Judith. Such stories give us even more reminders of the wonder of our Creator who died for our sins and help keep us focused on the cross in a simple yet amazing way.

    Hi Judith, That is so cool to hear about the mustard seed and its flowers. I will tell my grand kids about this. What a great devotion and reminder of the uniqueness of God’s plants and animals that he created.

    Dear Judith,
    Thanks for the good children’s (and adult’s) story. And for the prayer thanking God for Jesus who was crucified to save us from our sins.
    Keep writing and telling memorable stories. I wonder if a number of churches will pass this one on. I pray that they will.

    Hi Judith,
    Very interesting about the mustard seed and the other plants you mentioned. I was not aware of that. I have used that parable quite often in my studies, but only to point out that the new faith started real small and grew from there. Thank you for telling us about this.

    Love your message about the mustard seed.
    To me it spoke about the development of leaders and carrying leadership cross.
    (Ontario, Canada)

    Morning Judy,
    The story of the mustard seed to the children I found most interesting. Thank you.
    (ON Canada)

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