In my previous post, Marriage: the Little Things , I talked about the big effect of little differences between my husband and I. It is important that he and I view marriage more positively than negatively. We can view these little things as obstacles in our life or opportunities for our growth. We can criticize each other or celebrate our uniqueness. We can argue about our differences or appreciate them.
My husband helps me travel to the world of possibilities and I help him trod in the land of practicality. That sounds so flowery and awesome, but sometimes the traveling makes me a little motion sick, and at times the trodding is frustrating for him. Thinking positively is true and right, but sometimes, we just can not self-will the happy thoughts. We need a bigger solution.
As I look through Scripture and study Jesus' interaction with people, I notice that He does not diminish the importance of little matters. Instead, Jesus redirects people's thinking. He takes earthly problems and points to heavenly solutions. Jesus seems to think we can learn from the "little things" and so He tells a short story about this tiny thing called a mustard seed.
"[Jesus] 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. 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 air come and make nests in its branches.'"
This passage isn't about marriage, directly, but about the kingdom. However, the parable applies directly to marriage, because marriage was God's first kingdom-building institution (Gen 2). Marriage is the smallest of all kingdom unions. The purposes of marriage are not solely compatability, happiness, intimacy, or commitment. Man and woman were first joined together in the Garden to work in and for God's kingdom together. And now thousands of generations later, one man and one wife become "one" in a world with billions of people. The Christians plant their tiny marriage in God's huge kingdom, and then they grow. They grow bigger than non-Christian marriages (the garden plants) and extend far beyond themselves because they have the supernatural power of God working behind them.
Why is it important that marriages grow spiritually? So that the marriage is useful. Birds make their nests in the branches of a Christian marriage. Marriage is not just for the two people who started it, but for all the people who find their way to its resting spot. The marriage is to help others build their own homes and further the work of the kingdom.
Marriage is to be like the mustard seed. When the mustard seed has done its job, no one focuses on the seed. The seed is barely recognizable once it has produced so much usefulness. I pray that you will have a mustard-seed marriage: always growing, always pointing heavenward, always benefiting others. I pray that the tree of your marriage will weather dry seasons, stand strong in rain or sunshine, and benefit all the little "birds" long past the life of your little seed.