Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Mustard Seed

Many Christians are familiar with the verse that says "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you." -Luke 17:6. We understand the general sentiment of having just enough belief to be able to make a connection with God, who can make things happen for us. We get and appreciate the concept of giving a little to get a lot. Who wouldn't?

I don't exactly know what a mustard seed looks like, but as an experienced gardener (for all of 3 months now), I do know what a typical seed looks like and let me tell you, it's tiny. As I was planting my veggie garden, I actually mixed seeds by accident (yes, that's how experienced I am) because they were so small I couldn't hold onto them and they just fell into the soil. Imagine a fleck of dandruff on your shirt (not that you have any, but I'm sure you've seen people who do), it's just that small. Sometimes, I just can't fathom why God doesn't demand more of us. He only asks us to have the faith of a mustard seed! Then says that that infinitesimal amount of faith can give us the power to move metaphorical trees. That's some crazy, loving grace right there.

But, most aren't so familiar with a related verse I came across yesterday (and when I say "most" I'm totally just talking about myself). Matthew 13:32 reads, "Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." He's referring to the mustard seed again in this verse. However, now we learn something new about it. Since the connection has already been made between our faith and a mustard seed, I can't help but apply the new knowledge to the old scenario. If mustard seed faith can move trees, what can mustard tree faith do?!

Maybe Jesus wasn't so crazy in accepting mustard seed faith from his believers. He, being the omniscient God that He is, knew that even something as seemingly insignificant as a seed could flower into something useful, incredible, meaningful. The mustard seed becomes shelter for birds, whereas the other seeds don't. While we don't know what those other seeds became, we know they weren't as great as what became of the mustard seed. That could be paralleled in a couple of ways.

     1. The most obvious way is our faith. Our faith can grow just like that seed. Even if at first we falter in our belief, question God and his will and maybe even turn away from Him, if we hold on to a small amount of faith and persevere, we can come out on top. Our faith in God can grow from our experiences with Him. Just like an actual seed, the RAIN of financial difficulties, relational problems and emotional well being mixed with the SUNSHINE of love, contentment and laughter can grow us into awesome trees too. Maybe our tree provides encouragement for our children, hope for our friends and family or love for people who we don't even know. Every tree provides something unique, yet needed. Whatever the case, our minute amount of faith in a God that is greater than all circumstances can develop into a faith that can harness some of that greatness for ourselves.
     2. A less obvious way is as a person. Sometimes we see other people's seeds and assume what their plant will look like or vice versa. For instance, we assume a beautiful woman (seed) will have no problem finding a suitable spouse and bearing equally beautiful children (tree). Sometimes, we see people in church, maybe singing on the choir or teaching Sunday school (tree) and we assume they've got it all together. We may get down on ourselves, believing they had a better seed than we did or wondering why our plant isn't flowering like theirs. But truthfully, we have no clue. Sure they sing in the choir, but maybe God wants you to lead the choir. Maybe they teach Sunday school, but the tree God has planned for you will be running the whole Sunday school department.
     I say all of that to say that we should all be concerned with taking care of our own seed. Making sure that we're utilizing our God-given abilities (seed) the best way we can. We don't know if we're made to be a flowering bush, a fruitful plant, or a sheltering tree, but we'll never find out if we don't tend to our seed. Even if we don't seem as fast or as smart or as talented as others around us, that doesn't mean that we won't be something spectacularly necessary to someone.

God has a plan for all of us. His will for us isn't always easy to understand (okay, let's be honest, it hardly ever is) but it's always for our best. He asks that we trust Him, in the measurement of a mustard seed, and see what happens next. Are you up for the task?

I'm off to go water my garden :-)


  1. Wow, this is deep. It took a minute for me to make the connection between the two verses. I'm not sure I agree with all of this but it is certainly food for thought. I always thought I had faith teh size of at least an orange seed but in reality it's must be more like that speck of dandruff, I certainly havent had any tree obey me.

  2. What a wonderful post. Thank you for the reminder! =)