EARTH: Something Small In God’s Hands by Francine Rivers

Reflections on How God Speaks Through Nature

Something Small In God’s Hands by Francine Rivers

From: Earth Psalms

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants;
it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.” Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast
a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
(Matthew 13:31-33)

Whenever it rains, earthworms come up out of their burrows and squirm above the ground. Usually, I grimace and toss them back into the garden. Remember the old song, “Worms crawl in, worms crawl out”? Worms used to make me think of death and decay. Not anymore.

Much to my family’s amusement, I read The Earth Moved, Amy Stewart’s book about earthworms, and was fascinated.  Did you know that earthworms alter soil composition, increasing its capacity to absorb water and bringing increased nutrients and microorganisms?  Worms pass the top few inches of soil through their innards each year, returning fertile castings to the dirt.

Worms can change an environment, cleaning soil and restoring land.  Some cities are building massive worm composters called “continuous flow reactors” that turn sewage into usable soil and use recycled water to create new wetlands that support endangered species like the great blue heron.

I may start composting just to observe these fascinating creatures.  They love banana peels, melon rinds, coffee grounds, lettuce leaves.  Think of it!  Come spring, the worms will have turned table scraps into natural fertilizer to make my garden grow.

How like God to use something small to change something big.

In Matthew 13, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to two small things – a mustard seed and a bit of yeast.  Even though the seed is tiny, it grows into a large tree that serves as a home for many birds.  And even though there’s only a little yeast in the bread dough, it makes the whole loaf rise.

From a human perspective, it doesn’t make sense that something so small could have such a large effect.  But in the Kingdom of God, all things are possible.  Size doesn’t matter to God.  He doesn’t need us to be big or powerful or mighty, because he is all of those things.  If we want to further the Kingdom of Heaven, if we want to serve God, all we need to do is be faithful.  Be willing to be used.  He will do the rest.

Always keep your eyes open for the little task, because it is the little task that is important to Jesus Christ. The future of the Kingdom of God does not depend on the enthusiasm of this or that powerful person; those great ones are necessary too, but it is equally necessary to have a great number of little people who will do a little thing in the service of Christ.
(Albert Schweitzer)


The Bible is full of stories of people who were weak or unimportant but did great things for God – people like David (the youngest of his brothers), Moses (who didn’t speak well and asked God to choose someone else to lead the Israelites), and Mary (a young, powerless girl).  Why do you think God uses seemingly insignificant people to accomplish big things?  What does it show us about his character?


Do you ever feel too small or insignificant to accomplish anything for God?  This week, choose one of the Bible characters mentioned above and read his or her story.  (The anointing of David: 1 Samuel 16; God choosing Moses: Exodus 3; the angel appearing to Mary: Luke 1.)  Think or journal about how God used that person in a mighty way.  Let this encourage you as you consider your own life.


Lord God, in our culture usually the smartest, the strongest, the most attractive, and the wealthiest win.  I’m grateful that in your kingdom, you turn that all around.  I am amazed when I consider all the small things you use to accomplish great things.  Thank you for the examples throughout the Bible of people who weren’t that strong or smart or brave.  But they were willing – and you did the rest.  Help me to be willing to let you use me.  I want to be a part of spreading your kingdom.

In your strength I can crush any army;
with my God I can scale any wall.
(Psalm 18:29)

2 Comments on EARTH: Something Small In God’s Hands by Francine Rivers

  1. Wonderful reflections. My wife Elizabeth and I raise special earthworms called “Red Wigglers” from Africa which are composting worms which many farmers hold onto like gold. When we think of the earthworm, we think of the passage about the humble inheriting the earth. They quietly work and leave behind such an amazing fertilizer it is known by gardeners as black gold. I recall meeting the “Worm King” who was one of the most enthusiastic proponents of their giftings. He was even hired by the Chinese government to deal with their vast waste problem. He mentioned that in the Philippines, known for its intensive gardening, they would not even sell a single worm they were so valuable. Their garden soil was much improved by the castings, so much so that their produce was larger and produced more often than the tried soils of intensive farms of the Philippines. He even said that he believed that the lowly worm would eventually save the world, ecologically. Did you know that the worm castings have a special enzyme which plants take up into their systems and repels white fly, a pest, from gardenia’s. That’s just one example. Cal Tech scientists use the castings, which include many worm eggs, to grow their prize winning heirloom tomatoes. Well, got to get back to my blogging at Exploring God’s Library. It is interesting that God referred to Jacob as you worm. While we may be insignificant to others, we quietly and faithfully do what He has called us to do. What a joy to be on this journey of discovering His creation and His Word, to know Him more intimately day to day. Blessings on your blog. Oh, this is just for fun. I was in a class and they asked us to share something unique about ourselves. I mentioned that I was a Knight in the Order of the Worms. How did you get knighted? they asked. It was on my visit to the Worm King! It was there he knighted me, jokingly into the Order of the Worms. One friend thought I should sign that under the title of my name! James=Jacob, right. O you worm Jacob! When my wife Elizabeth and I were taking Mandarin, we were assigned the task of coming up with Chinese names, so I asked my good friend Pastor Vu Duc Chang, who had been the assistant minister of Education in South Vietnam before it fell what my name should be and he said, …..(mandarin for Jacob Stone.

    In Christ’s refuge and strength,

    James C. Stephens
    Knight in the Order of the Worms


    • Hello James, I had no idea that worms were represented by knights in this world. I learn something new everyday. This post is written by Francine Rivers, it’s from the book, Earth Psalms. Which is great fun to read. I am Julia Marks. My writing can be found under the tab at the top of the page entitled, My Writing. It’s a tad less fun to read. Thank you for your enjoyment of the post. And it is an honor to meet a real knight.


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