While I was visiting friends in San Francisco, we attended a Sunday evening church gathering. There were about 15 people. We sat around tables in a comfortable room, and the leader perched himself on a stool in front of the room. He asked questions and gave input as needed. My impression of the leader and the church was that they are sincere, devoted to Jesus, and desiring to grow and challenge one another in authentic community. Visiting and observing another community that loves Jesus was a great experience. A particular topic of their conversation has had me contemplating faith for the last few weeks.
One of the stories in the Bible that I’ve read or heard about a thousand times is the “if you have mustard seed faith then you can move mountains” story. It is also one of the stories that I can outwardly slowly shake my head in agreement with a look of deep contemplation on my face, but inwardly be thinking “What the heck does that even mean?” Do you ever do that? Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m trying to make myself look smarter. I can fake it even subconsciously.
A tiny speck of faith can move a huge gigantic mountain. I’ve been told that a mustard seed is about this big: O For reals. That much faith can move a mountain? Naturally, I start asking myself how much faith do I think I have? What ways has God grown my faith? Do I have a faith that is naive in that I literally think a mountain will move? Am I a name it claim it kinda gal? Do I trust my faith enough to truly trust my God enough for huge things?
The San Francisco group of believers talked about faith briefly on that Sunday evening. I could tell the man sitting on the stool in front of us was a really wise person. He paused and asked if we had thought of the potential of a mustard seed. He said the passage says the faith of a mustard seed.
I’ve looked at several translations and read through the story many times. One translation may say, “the faith of a mustard seed,” and another may say, “the faith the size of a mustard seed.” Either way I think the new concepts the man on the stool stirred in my brain apply.
The seed knows its job is to grow mustard. It has the faith to believe that God will accomplish his purpose in growing a mustard bush. The seed doesn’t try to do grow into an oak tree or to become a duck. It knows it was created to grow mustard. The seed may not realize it at first, but there is an infinite amount of mustard plants in that seed. It is planted, grows, is harvested, produces more seeds, and so on. There is limitless potential inside that one small seed.
As I’ve processed and pondered this in my own life, I begin to realize how significant this can really be. I want to have the faith that God is going to accomplish in my life exactly what he created me to be. There are definitely seasons that I’ve faced that I struggled to believe I could do what he was asking me to do. I want to believe God in such a way that it is a righteous belief. When Jesus said that through the Holy Spirit we would do even greater things on earth than he did, do I take this profound statement personally?
I often feel like my life is as tiny as a mustard seed in an insignificant way. What I want to deepen is the belief that my life is as tiny as a mustard seed, but also see the significance of the infinite amounts of growth and purpose in the seed, in my life, because of Jesus, for the glory of God. This will take deep reliance on the Father. The seed can do nothing in and of itself. Without being planted, the seed sits in a dark little envelope on a shelf at Target. It must be planted, take root, and establish itself in the soil. I, too, want to remain in Jesus and allow his Word to be implanted in me so that I am established to do his will and hopefully, produce fields and fields of beautiful mustard plants!