Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mustard Seeds

There are piles of old stories, transcripts of old talks, and manuscripts of books not-yet-published in a very large stack next to my desk, mostly arranged in three-ring binders. I found this excerpt from a talk I gave in 2000. It seems pretty applicable today, as well. 
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Jesus told several stories about little things that meant a lot. Do you remember what He said about the mustard seed? The first story is that the Kjngdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed. It is a little bitty thing at first, but when it is planted, and nurtured, it grows and grows and grows. It becomes a tree with big branches and lots of leaves. Birds come to rest in the branches, build nests, and make their homes in it. 

I think what the story means is that, when we first meet Jesus, we make a little room for Him in our hearts.  The longer we know Him, the more room we make for Him, so that the "seed of faith" grows.  It grows enough to become a safe haven, a place of protection, comfort, and abiding. Maybe it means we bear fruit. Maybe it means that little helpless creatures, and lost helpless people, can find a safe place with us. 

There is another mustard seed story I really like. You, like me, may have forgotten what started the lesson on faith that day. A man had a son who was had seizures, and was very ill. He would often fall into the fire and other times fall into the water. The man took him to Jesus's disciples, but they couldn't cure him. The father was, needless to say, pretty upset. His hope was just about gone.

Finally, he spotted Jesus with His disciples, heading into a big crowd of people. He ran up to Jesus and fell on his knees, begging for mercy and healing for his son.  Jesus, of course, cured the boy at once.

Later, when no one was around or listening, the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn't cure the boy. He told them it was because "of the littleness of their faith". He said that, if they had faith the size of a mustard seed, they could've told a mountain to move to a different place and it would have had to move. That mustard seed is mighty little. Mustard seed faith  must be a mighty little bit of faith, too, but Jesus said it can accomplish big things. 

How big is your faith? Are there any mountains you need to move? A mustard seed of faith is all you need.