Ezekiel 31:1-6Revised Standard Version (RSV)
The Lofty Cedar
31 In the eleventh year, in the third month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his multitude:
“Whom are you like in your greatness?
3 Behold, I will liken you to[a] a cedar in Lebanon,
Ezekiel 31:10-14Revised Standard Version (RSV)
10 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because it[a] towered high and set its top among the clouds,[b] and its heart was proud of its height, 11 I will give it into the hand of a mighty one of the nations; he shall surely deal with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out. 12 Foreigners, the most terrible of the nations, will cut it down and leave it. On the mountains and in all the valleys its branches will fall, and its boughs will lie broken in all the watercourses of the land; and all the peoples of the earth will go from its shadow and leave it. 13 Upon its ruin will dwell all the birds of the air, and upon its branches will be all the beasts of the field. 14 All this is in order that no trees by the waters may grow to lofty height or set their tops among the clouds,[c] and that no trees that drink water may reach up to them in height; for they are all given over to death, to the nether world among mortal men, with those who go down to the Pit.
2 Corinthians 8:1-8Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Encouragement to Be Generous
8 We want you to know, brethren, about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedo′nia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God. 6 Accordingly we have urged Titus that as he had already made a beginning, he should also complete among you this gracious work. 7 Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us—see that you excel in this gracious work also.
8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.
2 Corinthians 8:13-15Revised Standard Version (RSV)
13 I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, 14 but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality. 15 As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
Mark 4:26-34Revised Standard Version (RSV)
The Parable of the Growing Seed
26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, 27 and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
The Use of Parables
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.