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Did you know that there’s a really tiny seed that can grow into a huge tree? So tiny that it’s only about ⅕ of a black peppercorn’s size?
Yes, there is! It’s called the mustard seed.
It’s the same seed that’s being crushed, used as a spice, and added as an ingredient in many dressings, glazes, sauces, soups, and marinades! (Think of that hamburger with a mustard sauce you’ve ordered from a nearby burger joint!)
The Faith of a Mustard Seed
How small is a mustard seed? How can it grow into a giant tree?
A mustard seed’s size is about the measure of a poppy seed, that when you plant it in good loamy soil, it can grow into a tall enormous sturdy tree! Mustard trees are considered evergreen shrubs. But when fully grown, mustard trees can reach up to 20 feet in height!
Because the seed is tiny, a small quantity plants a large area. A major league infield is 8100 square feet. Less than two pounds of mustard seeds can be produced in the entire infield!
Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed
Among all types of mustard seeds, the most popular type is the black mustard, which originated from the Middle East and Asia Minor. It also made history, especially in the Biblical context where Jesus used it to teach life lessons. He used it to teach parables.
Together with His disciples and other followers, Jesus traveled from one town and village to another to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God. He preached throughout Galilee.
It was the day after Mary Magdalene poured a jar of expensive perfume to anoint His feet. He gained so much fame after He healed so many people during His travels.
And people would listen to Him when He would teach life lessons through parables.
He’s so popular that if there were a TED Talk during His time, He would be the best speaker ever!
And one of the parables that He ever told is the Parable of the Mustard seed. He used the little mustard seed as an illustration to present a picture of faith.
On that day, Jesus’ disciples were not able to deliver a demon-possessed boy. All their efforts were in vain such that the child had to be brought to the Good Teacher.
With a simple rebuke from Jesus, the demon fled and the boy was healed at that very moment. Amazed, His disciples asked why they couldn’t cast the evil spirit away.
What is Faith?
Having faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain things we don’t see. Hebrews 11:1 KJV says:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
There are problems in this world that any finite being can’t control. And this is when we need to have faith the most.
Faith means to believe that the Almighty Creator will do something to answer our petitions and supplications. It’s like having confidence and putting our full trust in His will and infinite wisdom.
He said in Mark 11:24 NIV:
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
What Faith Is Not
If you believe something, but you don’t have the reason why you believe at all, that it’s not faith! It’s like you’re blindly scrambling yourself in the dark. It’s nothing but irrational or a silly way of feeling.
Faith doesn’t mean that if you’re feeling that you’re close with God, you’re already okay (or say “It is enough. I think I have faith and that’s it, I’m fine!”). Yes, we’re saved by grace, but we should also have a counterpart.
To be faithful is to have integrity in the presence of the Lord.
How can you tell if you are truly faithful? How can you know that you have the integrity to face the Lord?
The Bible tells us that perfect faith is always accompanied by action; not just the verbal expression of one’s belief. Obedience is the visible expression of invisible faith. It includes obeying all of His commandments.
In Deuteronomy 11:1 NIV, it says:
“Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keep His charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always.”
The Faith of a Mustard Seed Meaning
Christ said, according to Matthew 17:20 NKJV:
“Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; nothing will be impossible for you.”
He simply means that even if we have small faith, or even if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, God can still use us to do marvelous things, like being used in the ministry to spread the gospel!
Note that this doesn’t mean that we should be content that our faith should be like the mustard seed’s size forever. Let Christ help you more to increase your faith!
How Can We Obtain Faith of a Mustard Seed?
God used the illustration of the mustard seed as a comparison with the kingdom of heaven. Christ once said, according to Matthew 13:31-32 NIV:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which man took and planted in his field.”Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
When we allow Christ to dwell in our lives, there’ll be maturity and growth. Faith starts small. Put it in good soil. Let the sun (the light of the word of God) and water (like how Jesus Himself being represented as the Living Water) help that tiny mustard seed grow into a magnificent tree!
The faith the size of a mustard seed may be small right now, but God can make it grow if you allow Him.
Here are ways we can grow in having more faith in Christ:
- Seek the Lord. Continue to read the Scriptures.
- Pray diligently, like how often you need oxygen (because prayer is like oxygen for the soul).
- Make Christ be your constant companion in your daily walk of life.
- Learn to reflect on how He lived His life on earth by reading the Bible’s four gospel books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
And when we understand more of the scriptures, we’re learning to become like Him, and we know more about the power of faith.
We’re beginning to adopt this so-called Christ-like character: being compassionate to others, faithful, and obedient to God.
When we grow in Christ, we develop our full trust and confidence in Him. We’re becoming ready and fit to spend the rest of our life with the Lord in heaven. The gift of Eternal life is His reward for those who remain faithful and obedient to Him.
Isn’t it amazing that God teaches us that kind of wisdom?
When He was still living on earth, He used parables to teach the people. He also used nature to teach parables so that all the farmers, fishermen, and ordinary people who listened to Him can genuinely relate!
There’s a golden lesson or a nugget of wisdom to learn from every creation that He had made. All created things are an expression of the thought of God, and Jesus, the Great Teacher, was able to teach life lessons through these effectively.
He’s always great at building a good rapport with His disciples and His followers, who are from different walks of life. He left the crowd amazed with His teachings that contained great wisdom, and no one could teach such great life lessons other than Christ!
Now we have His Holy Spirit which continues to guide us into all Truth.
How to Increase Your Faith
If you think you’re little in faith, you can always ask the Lord in prayer to let Him speak through you.
Whatever your burdens are, He’s just waiting for you to come to Him, and He’s always ready to listen!
When we put our trust and confidence in the Lord, He will bless us, and His ways will always prevail over the original plans that we’ve made for ourselves.
Or, if you think your faith begins to be stagnant, read the Word of God all over again.
About the Author: Katherine Abraham is a third-generation Indian Seventh-day Adventist who completed her schooling and later university studies in Pune, under the aegis of Nowrosjee Wadia College and the ILS Law College in Pune. With degrees in law, literature, and journalism, Katherine has been committed to bringing about a distinct social change and strongly believes that a revival and reformation of the mindset is the need of the hour.