• Jane Wheeler

As Small As A Mustard Seed


Mustard seed bushes atop a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee



Have you ever wondered just how small a mustard seed is? I certainly have and now I have seen them with my own eyes.


These mustard flowers were all over in Israel, they grow wild on bushes on the hillsides, small yellow flowers dotting the landscape.


The Bible verse in Matthew 17:20 says:

“He replied (Jesus), "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."


I have read this verse numerous times and I have always wondered just how small that seed might be or in reality, I guess I was wondering how small does my faith have to be?




A mustard flower is the flower in the picture above. It is about the same size as a North American buttercup. The seeds are about the size of a pin head or 1 mm.


Interesting – Does this imply that God was saying, we really did not have to have a lot of faith to be able to get the mountain to move?


Is that what Jesus is really saying? I believe that this scripture is used wrongly in many situations.


I can list numerous instances where people thought based on that passage of scripture, that “healing or change” depended upon their degree of faith. If they or another person did not get healed, then they assumed that they did not have enough faith to save themselves or others. They got mad, despondent, and depressed, filled with guilt and shame that they were found wanting in the faith department. They blamed God. Using scripture this way also leads to us to make comparisons, ie: I have more faith that you, but not as much as that other person. It is not what Jesus meant; this is not the meaning Jesus was portraying.


God’s healing and grace are not dependent upon us at all – they are totally dependent upon God. The object of your faith is the key here.


Have you any mountains in your life currently?


Yup and so do I. We all have mountains, those unmovable, looming blocks of something that we think will never change. Good thing we only have to have a small amount of faith to change that – NOPE. In reality we cannot change anything, not self-effort, but we have to have faith in the one who can change something. That is the key.


Jesus was saying in effect - Matthew: an Introduction and Commentary, R.T. France writes, “It is important to observe here that it is not the ‘amount’ of faith which brings the impossible within reach, but the power of God, which is available to even the ‘smallest’ faith.”


That takes all the pressure off of us and puts it truly upon the shoulders of the one who can handle it: God.


Another fun fact about mustard seeds is that they like cool weather, moist soil and a light frost could improve their flavor.


I smile when I read this because my sarcastic side says: “Of course it does”. If in our situation, that unmovable object that taunts us, the last thing we would want it is to be outside wet and cold, never mind having a light frost! I think I was assuming that since mustard seeds grow in Israel they like hot, tropical climates. Nope.


My first few days in Israel were cold and wet and we saw so many mustard plants growing that proved they loved the wet and cold weather!


How like God to take us through a wet and cold period, uncomfortable and use it as a growth tool to bring forth a plant (or person) that blooms with brightness, grows almost anywhere and is nourishment for others. Yes, that is just like the mustard plant and how God uses people, even people with little faith.

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