Cherish the Seed
"Any faith in Him, however small, is better than any belief about Him, however great” (George MacDonald).
“When someone gives his heart to God, then the mind of this man is also seized by the love of God. He is indifferent towards worldly things and continually thinks about the Heavenly Father, and being divinely in love, he glorifies his Creator day and night like an angel” (St. Paisios of Mount Athos).
Faith is love of a living person. Our religious acts, prayers, icons, morals, doctrines, everything, are good for only one thing, and we must never forget this. Our talents, upbringing, health, wealth, homes, and relationships, all of these are given to us for one purpose, and one purpose alone, to help us become unreservedly obsessed with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Savior spake a parable this morning. “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof” (Matthew 13:31-35).
Christ cherished the little mustard seed. At a glance, it is small and unimpressive, but hidden within the seed are all kinds of marvels. When crushed, the mustard seed releases a pungent, savory smell. When cooked, it adds a flavorful depth to any meal. Once consumed, it produces warmth inside the body. A wide range of studies have found these seeds to “reduce headaches, improve digestion, support heart health, strengthen bones and teeth, benefit the skin and hair, delay aging, provide antioxidant protection, control blood sugar, and more” (Dr. G. Sushma Kumari). When scattered in the fields through the Middle East, the seeds grow into strong, beautiful trees, and its branches create a sanctuary for birds from miles away.
This is the Kingdom within us. Christ scattered the seeds through the atmosphere of earth. Everyone is offered one. But the world mocks it: “This seed is so small and meaningless. I do not have time for it. I have a career to build. I have money to earn. I have projects to accomplish. I have games to play.” Each soul has the chance to take and cherish this heavenly seed, but who has time for it?
“The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one . . . [and] just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age . . . Then the righteous will shine like the sun” (Matthew 13:37-43).
“Do not be idolaters as some of them were,” St. Pauls warns us to guard ourselves from distractions. “Do not be idolaters as some of them were, as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge . . . We must not put Christ to the test . . . Flee from idolatry . . . do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10).
In 5th century Jerusalem, there lived a priest known as St. Hesychios — the “quiet one”. He is most known for his teachings on stillness and inner watchfulness, but first and foremost, he urges the faithful to prioritize. Remember the one thing.
“A donkey going round and round in a mill cannot step out of the circle to which it is tethered, nor can the intellect [the inner heart] which is not inwardly disciplined advance in the path of holiness. With its inner eyes blinded, it cannot perceive holiness or the radiant light of Jesus.”
When we spend our time caught up in worldly things, careers, money, reputation, and entertainments, we become like a chained up ass — a dumb, blind slave. But if our heart is focused on Jesus Christ, if our values and loves are turned inward, to the Kingdom, we become free and alive.
“Our [soul] is darkened and remains fruitless whenever we [entertain worldliness] in our mind . . . whenever the body and the intellect waste their time . . . or we give ourselves over to vanities. For then we immediately lose our fervor, our sense of compunction, and our intimacy with God . . . So long as we concentrate our attention on the intellect [our inner hearts and our spiritual relationship with God], we are enlightened; but when we are not attentive to it we are in darkness.”
We have each been given something so beautiful: the little seed of heaven. Though small and unnoticeable at first, the seed is more fragrant, nourishing, healing, and divine than anything the mind could fathom. When nourished, the seed grows and blossoms into the most heavenly wonder.
And so, St. Hesychios continues: “Scorn all vanities for the sake of the beauty and blessings of holiness.”
There is nothing so precious as the life Christ offers. It begins as something tiny and is easy to lose. The world, the flesh, and the devil aspire to stamp it out. But the seed is precious and invaluable. When it grows in our heart, everything falls short of its beauty. All our religion, all our talents, all our time matter only for this one thing: Cherish the seed.