Faith as a Mustard Seed

Posted: September 24th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

I read something interesting about the whole “faith of a mustard seed” thing. I have heard many different arguments on faith, the power of faith, moving literal and/or spiritual mountains, etc and this is not to start an argument, just maybe a different perspective not seen before.   So here we go…

Mustard Seed

Mustard Seed

Most people take Matthew 17:20, “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” And again in Luke 17:6, And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” and interpret this way. If I have even just a tiny bit of faith, as small as a mustard seed, then these things are available to me; but maybe that is not what it is saying.  See, the only other time that mustard seeds are mentioned in the Bible is in parallel passages referring to the Kingdom of God:

Matthew 13:31-32Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.”

Mark 4:30-32 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.

Luke 13:18-19 Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.

Mustard Tree

Mustard Tree

Obviously these are the same story as accounted in the different gospels, but they reveal something. They are not talking about the size of the mustard seed, but the uniqueness of such a tiny herbal seed and how it grows. I did a little studying on mustard and here are what I believe Jesus was talking about.

The mustard plant has is one of the smallest seeds that are planted by farmers (obviously not the smallest seed of any plant) at 1/8 inch in diameter. The mustard seed, once planted, begins (noticeably) to grow the very next day. In fact it is one of the quickest maturing plants around reaching full maturity in about 40 days.

I believe that God used this plant as an example of our faith in that once we receive Christ, our faith begins to grow immediately. The number forty in the Bible points to tribulation or trials (Israel in the wilderness for 40 years) which would speak of a definite maturing process for our faith (part of growth and maturity come from overcoming trials in our life).  When mature, the mustard plant is much larger than any of  the other herbs which could speak to our faith having the potential to grow beyond that of others.

So “faith as a mustard seed” to move mountains I believe refers not to just a little faith can move a mountain, but rather that a faith that is growing and maturing, though it started with a small beginning, will give you the ability to move mountains (overcome trials).

Please leave your thoughts.

- mooney

  • luckyladymonroe

    Kudos on thinking outside of the normal Christian box on this one. I think this is a very interesting way of thinking of it and am going to do some research on my own on the subject because I am very interested in the relationship between faith and the Holy Spirit. Thanks for such a huge insight!

  • timglass

    These are great thoughts mooney. I just on this subject myself, for the parable in St. Mark’s gospel.

    Here’s the link if you’re interested.

    Blesings in Christ!

  • wayneman5

    I appreciate your thoughts here. This parable definitely reveals secrets about growth in God–hence, the word “seed.” I believe that it solves the mystery of how faith, which is the very first piece of the Spirit that was “once delivered to the saints”–how faith grows from the personal kingdom of God within our hearts to fill the whole earth–politically and literally. Check out this article on this at “Immortality Road”:
    God bless you richly on your pilgrimage back to the Father’s heart, Kenneth Wayne Hancock

  • baddogmooney

    Hey everyone, thanks for your comments. I will definitely check out the articles you mention.

    - mooney

  • kgtalbott

    Great insights. It is a fresh way of viewing it, thank you. The way I had always thought of these parables is the whole ‘God uses the weak and lowly of the world to accomplish his big plans and shame the wise and powerful.’ aka, the least of all the seeds, the mustard seed, is the one that Jesus uses, and that most closely resembles the kingdom of God. I really liked the research you did. I didn’t realize how fast mustard plants grew. very intriguing. I’m interested in learning more, we’ll see what my own research digs up.


  • Patricia Banks

    I am in agreement with you about the mustard seed. I believe that it is not the size, but the fact that it grows in such a short span of time. If this scripture refers to the size, the the kingdom of God is awfully small. People tend to leave out the reference to the kingdom of God. I think it is becasue then they may not be included in the kingdom due to the size of it. May God bless you and keep you in perfect peace.

    • C.R. Mooney

      Thanks for your comment Patricia!