Luke 13. Forum Discussion

Acts of kindness

Chapter 13 contains the Parable of the Mustard Seed, and the Parable of the Leaven. Both parables have to do with big things coming from modest beginnings.

Ironically, Luke’s account of the Parable of the Mustard Seed is lacking in detail compared to the other writers. This is unusual for Luke, whose Gospel is the longest, and most comprehensive, of the four gospels.

Let us compare Luke’s account of the Parable of the Mustard Seed to those of the other gospel writers:

  • “So He was saying, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.” – Luke 13:18-19.

  • He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” – Mathew 13:31-32.

  • “And He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.” – Mark 4:30-32

*Note – John does not include the parable in his Gospel.

The mustard seed teaches us that God can do extraordinary things with even the smallest of seeds. Have you ever had an idea that you thought might make somebody’s day, or put a smile on somebody’s face, but did not follow through? Most of us have. We should never underestimate what God can do with our “small” acts of kindness. Examples of small acts of kindness could include: a smile, a phone call, keeping somebody company, a thank you card, etc. Just like the mustard seed, one small kind act can lead to bigger and better things.

Consider the following scripture in the context of one small act of kindness and what God can do with that gesture:

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.  So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” – 1 Corinthians 3:6-7.

When we are kind to someone, we give them a chance to see God working in us.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. ” – Mathew 5:16.

Good behavior is contagious. As others see our acts of kindness, they are more likely to participate in an act of kindness themselves, and the effects of our efforts can be multiplied.

Most importantly, we understand that it is God that rules over the universe, and with God there are no limits to what He can do. As we plant seeds and others water those seeds, great things can happen!

Have you ever heard the story about the old man and the starfish?


One day, a young child was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked, he came upon an old man who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the child looked at the old man and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the old man simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish.".

The young child chuckled aloud and said, “Sir, there are thousands of starfish up and down the coast and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The old man picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the child, he said, “I made a difference to that one!”

Then he reached down, picked up another, and threw it into the ocean.  "And I made a difference to that one too!"

God wants us to: give that smile, say that thank you, make that phone call, etc. Jesus says in Mathew 25:40:

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”

Is there something kind that you have been meaning to do for somebody, but have not gotten around to it? Maybe today is the day. Like the mustard seed, your “little” act of kindness can do great things with God’s help!

Thank you for joining us today. Please join us again tomorrow as we look at Luke 14, and what the Bible says about humility. May God’s blessings be upon you until then.  Amen



I wish I could hug people who need it. But we’re all being cautious during this time of Covid