“Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So Jesus said unto them, ‘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; and nothing will be impossible for you.’ ” Matthew 17: 19-20 (NKJV)
The little mustard seed–small, yet more powerful than we can imagine. Why does something as small and insignificant as a mustard seed have power? Because Jesus assigned power to it. With His words, He gave the mustard seed prominence, and importance.
Let me clarify, please. It’s not really that the mustard seed itself has power. No, it is simply because Jesus likened a wee bit of faith to the size of a mustard seed. By using this seed as an example, He demonstrated that faith is faith. Whether we try to measure it by width or depth, it is the same always. One grain, one iota, one nth, one seed, all of these sizes equal faith. When we feel like our faith is bursting at the seams, or when we feel like it is dwindling away to near nothingness, it is still faith. It still holds power and grace and forgiveness. It is still what God has always intended it to be.
Jesus was well-known for His parables. He even had a parable concerning the mustard seed. Did you know that? I have read it before, but it did not affect me like it does today. It’s a mustard seed, for goodness sake! But I have seen the days when my faith was so very small that it felt just like that. And when I called upon that little seed of faith, Jesus poured the water on it, and it became huge. Yes, that is because when we care for them, seeds do grow, even the little mustard seed.
“Another parable He put forth to them, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.’ ”
Matthew 13: 31-32
If you have never seen mustard seeds before, take a good look at the picture above. The seed is very small when it starts out. But when it is nurtured, it grows, and just as Jesus said in His parable, it will grow big and tall, not like a giant oak or a cedar tree, but it will outdo itself in size. If a mustard seed can grow like that, so can our faith.
Jesus is Our Hope. When He tells us about faith, He is teaching us. He is equipping us for the days when our faith, no matter how big we think it is, may wane some. That can come from being tired, or from sorrow, or from hardships that never seem to end. But He wants us to understand that no matter how big or small our faith is, it is still faith, and it is faith in Him, and in His Father. And faith really can move mountains, no matter its size. Jesus says to His children, “Believe in Me.” When we do, our mustard seed will grow to be like a tree.
When have you felt like your faith was shrinking, even though you believed? Please share your story of how Jesus helped you use that little bit of faith at www.mystoryofgrace.com.