Please Pass the Mustard Seed

Does anyone have a mustard seed I can borrow?

I won’t be giving it back for about twenty years. And it won’t be the same seed I borrow from you now. I hope that’s okay?

Mustard seeds fascinate me.  They start as a tiny seed, one of the smallest seeds in the world. The seeds grow into huge trees big enough for birds to nest in. Jesus taught the parable of the mustard seed in all three synoptic gospels.

“Again he said, ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground.Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.’ ”Mark 4:30-32 NIV.

And again in Matthew 17:20b Jesus said, “. . . 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.”

Even though the mustard seed is a little-bitty seed, it’s a big deal in the Bible. Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven as like one. He also used the mustard seed to describe to his followers how faith works.

The parable teaches many lessons. That’s one thing I love about the Bible:its richness and depth. We can take a passage like the mustard seed parable and apply it in many ways in our lives. I read a blog recently about a Bible Study teacher who challenged his young students to grow their faith in practical, tangible ways, using the parable of the mustard seed.

When I read this parable I’m reminded of something I learned in elementary school about plants and seeds. Before the mustard seed can grow, or produce other mustard seeds, it must die.

When growers plant the mustard seed in the ground, the germination process begins. Only after it dies does it start to grow. It begins the process by growing roots into the soil to anchor the plant to a firm foundation. As the roots anchor the plant we begin to see tiny shoots, then a leaf, then more shoots, then some stems, then more shoots then more leaves. Eventually we see branches and eventually a sapling, that grows into what will eventually become a huge tree that produces more fruit.

All the growth and fruit from that one tiny seed would not be possible unless the seed died.

Does that remind you of someone? We would not be proclaiming the Gospel if Jesus had not died.  If he had gone on living for 20 or 30 more years teaching and performing miracles, and died of natural causes in his old age, we would have no Gospel to proclaim.  He had to be crucified and die a violent, painful death on the cross and shed His blood at Calvary for you and me to live in Him today and with Him some day in eternity. His death, burial and resurrection put to death the law and ushered us into grace. Just consider the fruit His death has produced. Can we even process that? More than 20 centuries have passed. No one can imagine the number of born from above believers his death has yielded.

Guess what. We have to die too if we are going to bear fruit for God. We can do all sorts of “good” things. We can pray, read the Bible, meditate on Scripture, go to church, serve on committees, usher, et. al. None of it glorifies God, however, if we’re not willing to follow Him to Calvary and be crucified with Him. We have to die first if we’re going to live for Him.

That’s why Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

There’s gonna be a bunch of us dead folks in heaven. How about you? Moved any mountains lately? Are you willing to die to live for Christ?

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15 thoughts on “Please Pass the Mustard Seed

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  6. I love this: “Only after it dies does it start to grow.” There’s so much we can learn from that statement. We must die before we can truly live and grow in Christ. Thanks for sharing:) God bless!

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  7. Steve, dear man, oh wise Bible teacher, I just finished my comments on this article where you posted it at Christian Blessings! However, I will add here just this:we MUST be crucified WITH Him before we can be born again into new abundant life like this magnificent mustard tree! By the way, my paternal grandmother loved mustard greens so much that she wished she could figure out how to get her mustard seeds to grow half as big as the ones she knew grew in the Holy Land!

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. I’m amazed at the number of Christians I know who don’t understand they have to die and be crucified to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God. That’s what I’m attempting to do with this blog. In some ways I consider those believers a mission field. You are such a blessing to me. Thank you again for your comments and insight.

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  8. Excellent post Steven! Mountain, in that passage seems to be a metaphor but I do not think most of us understand that. Too often we fail to recognize the little miracles that God work in our lives. We are always looking for the big miracle that never happen.

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    • Thanks for the kudos. I agree with you about the mountain. I don’t always have mountains to move. Sometimes I just need faith for little things I need to accomplish with His guidance during each day.

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    • Wow! Thanks so much for the kind remarks and encouragement. It’s comments like yours that keep me enthused about blogging for Christ. thanks again.

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