Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mustard Seed Conspiracy

A lay member of the congregation preached today and reminded us of what Jesus said about a mustard seed:

MT 13:31 He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 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."

I first read the book Mustard Seed Conspiracy by Tom Sine many years ago when I was asked to lead a three-session workshop at the Varsity Christian Fellowship Annual Conference on 'Living Simply'.

I didn't like the title of the workshop. It implies that we must 'simplify', reduce and do without. In other words, be poor. As I mingled incognito with the undergraduates, it was clear that many of those coming to my workshop were there only because they did not get their first three choices of workshops and had to come to mine. Poor things!

These are undergraduates, the elite of Singapore society, at the brink of starting a career that will make them far richer than the other 75% or so of the population. 'Living Simply'???

I changed the title of my workshop to 'Simply Live'. Having read the Mustard Seed Conspiracy and Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ronald Sider, I was convinced that 'living simply' is not a question of 'doing without', it is a challenge to do the most with what we have.

Simply live. Live it to the full. Await joy that overflows.

I cannot remember in which of these books I read (probably Sider's) that Christians were challenged not to be afraid of making money. God is looking for Christians who can make a million dollars in one day. Hang on, the writer did not stop there. He says God is looking for Christians who can make a million dollars in one day, AND give it all away the next.

That I found and still find very refreshing for my soul.

Why do I go on and on about the environment? What impact might my efforts on challenging others have on this earth? I don't know, and might never know. But it's a mustard seed idea and a mustard seed idea must lead to mustard seed action. I must start small, and this tiniest of little seeds might take root and grow into a big tree where birds could nest in and give shade to the weary.

Why do I want to start a business? Because I would like to give myself a chance to make a million dollars some day ... and give it away the next. I know I will never win the lottery because I don't ever play it. By the same reasoning, if I don't give myself a chance to make a million dollars/pounds (well, metaphorically at least), I won't have any to give away!

For all the criticisms that Bill Gates gets, I admire him for his philanthropy. Sure, the reasons behind his publicized generosity might be questionable, but the fact is he is putting his millions to work for the disadvantaged.

When one has all that money (see previous post), buying tangibles does not give pleasure any more. What is another aeroplane? What is another villa? It is far more blessed to give than to receive.

The worship leader today started with reading Psalm 24:

"The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it ...."

This earth does not belong to me. It belongs to God and that is why I feel I am personally responsible for stewarding its resources. When God said to Adam to 'have dominion over it', God meant that we are to look after it.

Back to Organic-Ally.

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