Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, 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 13:31-32
And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.Mark 4:30-32
Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.Luke 13:18-19
Have you ever heard this argument?
“We have to have the most updated and modern facility or we will not be able to minister to the children of God.”
I have heard this statement made countless times attempting to justify the spending of millions of dollars on various buildings and objects for the physical structure of a church house. This focus on the external beauty or size of the building is a misplaced passion, I believe. Consider how Jesus responded to His disciples when they almost pridefully showed him the temple:
And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Matthew 24:2
This certainly prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem that would occur in 70 A.D., but the fact that Jesus shows no concern for the buildings tells us that the church is not the building. The building is a place where the church meets but is not vital to its health, purpose or growth.
Let me take a moment to state that I am not saying that we should not take care of the church house property. We definitely should. The condition of the physical structure in which a church meets often reflects the devotion of its members. However, this is not always the case, and an inordinate focus on the physical church building may be preventing or hampering true work in the kingdom that needs to be done.
This parable shows us that we shouldn’t desire a “big tree” church. We do not need all the latest and most expensive things. The first century church met from house to house! We do need to understand that the simple, little herb tree is sufficient in Jesus’ eyes for His redeemed. Therefore, it should be more than satisfactory for us.