I’ve often wondered about the somewhat confusing principle of Matthew 17:20 where Jesus tells His disciples that if they have faith the size of a mustard seed, they would be able to move mountains. A mustard seed? Do you know how small that is? How can faith that size move something as big as a mountain? That’s counterintuitive to my human understanding and worldly view. In my mind, you have to do something big to get something big. If you want a big harvest, you have to sow a big seed. But God continues to show me in His Word, and in my life, that Kingdom principles are counterintuitive to worldly principles. And since I’m a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, my life is governed by Kingdom principles.
I was meditating on the notion of a mustard seed and why Jesus used this as an example of faith. My research on mustard seeds revealed the known fact that they are tiny (1-5mm in diameter) and that with much pruning they grow to produce a fleshy, sweet fruit. The seed itself can be used as a paste or powder for seasonings. So, although small, the mustard seed once put to use (whether planted and pruned, or finely crushed) fulfills a greater purpose (i.e. fruit or seasoning).
Reading further in Mark 4:30-32, Jesus again used the mustard seed, not to describe faith this time, but to describe the Kingdom of God. He told His disciples that although the mustard seed is small (“less than all the seeds that be in the earth” – vs 31), when it is sown it “becomes greater than all herbs and shoots out great branches…” And isn’t this how faith works?!
Regardless of how small your faith is, if you sow it, it will yield a great harvest. That goes for sowing seeds of the gospel in the hearts of those who don’t know Christ as well. You never know what a mighty harvest a simple word can produce. Which is why we should be careful of the seeds we unconsciously sow through our words (seeProverbs 18:21 – more on this in the next blog!)
I’m encouraged today, not just for my personal life and the things I’m sowing my “mustard seed of faith” to reap. But I’m also encouraged to know that when witnessing for Christ, I don’t have to “preach the whole Book”; but a simple word, simple encouragement, a simple prayer is being sown as a mustard seed in the hearts of the people I meet, and will one day produce a great harvest for the Kingdom of God!
Don’t be afraid to start small – “Little IS much…. when GOD is in it!”
[For further reflection: Mark 12:41-44]