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 one of the smallest seeds in the world. Thenseed can grow into herbs larger than an adult with sturdy branches large enough to carry birds. 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 herb plant that produces more fruit.

All the growth and fruit from that one tiny seed would not be possible unless and until 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 I 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?

About Steven Sawyer

God blessed me with the gift of writing. Mom told me I wrote paragraphs in second grade when others were learning to write sentences. I spent more than three decades in professional writing gigs. For the past eight years I've combined my passion for writing with my love for the Lord. He and I write a Christ-centered, family-friendly blog to glorify God Monday-thru Friday at My wife and I have four grown children and two precious granddaughters we co-parent with their mom. I'm a Galatians 2:20 disciple of Christ seeking to allow Christ to live His life in me, through me, and as me.
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19 Responses to Please Pass The Mustard Seed

  1. Yes, it is a great message, but I have one small request.
    Mustard doesn’t grow in trees and a tree will not grow of a mustard seed. The mustard plant, a herb, will grow large, longer than a person, and has “branches” strong enough to carry birds, but it is still a herb, not a “huge tree” and birds do not nest IN or ON mustard plants.
    I would appreciate a lot if you could change those details in your otherwise great blog post, and not cause people to question the natural history in the Bible.

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