SLD Blog

Mustard Seed and the Leaven – Devotional Series

The Mustard Seed and the Leaven – Matthew 13:31-34

31 ​He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. ​32 ​It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” 33 ​He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.”


Devotional Thought

In this time of uncertainty as the world faces a crisis and struggles to cope it has become apparent that the kingdoms of the world are less stable than we thought. Among all of the policy making and varying approaches to COVID-19 it is good to remember that the kingdom of heaven is still growing, and moving forward inexorably. When Jesus gave the Parable of the Mustard seed,  the Kingdom that He was bringing into the world was still in seed form. The kingdom was introduced by a humble Jewish carpenter and has grown into the greatest and most enduring movement the world has ever known. So while the kingdoms of the world struggle to do their best and cope, the Kingdom of Heaven is not struggling because it is established by God Himself.

For the past one hundred and fifty years The Salvation Army has had the privilege of being a part of this Kingdom that Jesus planted and established. How can we tell? Look at the work of Jesus and see how that work has continued in the service of The Salvation Army. Jesus fed thousands from His very hands (Matt. 14:13-21, Matt. 15:32-39) and during this present crisis, The Salvation Army has done the same across the world. The work of the Kingdom is not halted or disturbed by even the most dire global events and Jesus’ hands are still feeding thousands through the work of the Salvation Army.

Jesus intentionally travelled to the least reputable communities to bring life and “living water” (John 4). This compassion-driven Kingdom expression continues in the work of The Salvation Army today. I had the opportunity last year to visit a Salvation Army Kroc center in Philadelphia and was told that they had intentionally picked a location in one of the most needy areas. As I looked at the rusted, abandoned buildings surrounding the pristine facility I could not help but agree. But this is what following in the footsteps of Jesus looks like, this is what it means to bring the Kingdom to the world, to love the unlovable and bring life into the darkest areas. During this crisis the Philadelphia Kroc Center has implemented a drive-through food distribution service and is loving a needy community just as Jesus did. You can watch this story by clicking ​​.

As we celebrate Salvation Army Week and the wonderful work that has been done and continues across the globe, remember that it is really the Kingdom of Heaven that we are celebrating. We merely follow the example of the Great Sower as we spread the seeds of the Kingdom to all who will listen and it is He that will complete the work and bring the Kingdom in its fullness.



Lord Jesus our King, we rest in the knowledge that your Kingdom has come and is coming into the world. Thank you for the work that you have done and continue to do through us. It is an honor and a privilege to serve You. Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.



written by Dustin Phillips, Community Relations & Development Department, USA East