He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a 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.” Matthew 13:31-32
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
Even though I currently live on the coast of North Carolina, I'm a Marylander through and through. In my heart, I will always be a Frederick bumpkin. Sadly, life gets in the way of visiting my hometown very often, but when I do, I always make it a point to drive over and check out my childhood home.
My parents downsized a few years back to a condominium, so the place looks a bit different, yet one thing remains in place: the giant oak trees. What started as a few seeds we planted when we moved into the house decades ago turned into something much bigger. As each year past, the roots grew deeper and spread.
The trees reach high into the sky and shade a good portion of the yard now. The last time I pulled up to the place kids were climbing and playing on the branches, and it brought a smile to my face. A younger generation was making new memories thanks to a few seeds from the past.
A tiny seed can make a significant impact. Jesus understood this truth better than anyone. When describing the faith needed to make an impact in God's Kingdom, He used the imagery of a tiny mustard seed. We gravitate towards the big and flashy while God honors the humble small steps of obedience taken over time.
Understanding the significance of the small things is something we underestimate. Because they don't make the big stage we don’t think they carry any weight. But, they do. The small things matter. These “as you go” moments of influence serve as the building blocks to deeper faith. Big things are just a pile of little things done well over time. The collection begins to grow when we continually do what we can with what we have where we are. The reality is that God doesn’t need us to do “big things” for Him. He can manage fine on His own.
Because of His great love for us, God graciously invites us to have a walk-on role in the bigger story He is telling in this world. We get to play our part in making His name known. By displaying humility in our faith, we start to see the ordinary opportunities to make an impact we would have otherwise missed while searching for our big moment.
Plant a few seeds and then care and tend to them. God’s Kingdom advances through a thousand little things. Our work is what we do with our lives. One small action expands and captivates all the stuff around it. The seeds we plant today allow others to enjoy their growth tomorrow.
Where do you need to display mustard seed faith?
Declare one thing you will do in faith. What is one thing you can do this week to advance God’s Kingdom?
God, in those small steps of faith, You are changing me. I want eyes to see the places where You are calling me to display obedience. Rather than making my life all about me, may I spend my days bringing glory to You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.