Mustard Seed Faith

By Jerry Donovan, First United Methodist Church —

Luke 17:6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard
seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in
the sea,' and it would obey you.”

What is faith? It's the pushing of the soul into a future that is
always hidden. The farmer has faith in the faithfulness of the soil and
seasons, and the doctor has faith that cures yet unknown can be found.
How is faith increased?

Quality is more important than quantity; a tiny seed of faith is
enough to know that the faith is real faith. Faith in God revealed in
Christ.

But Jesus doesn't answer their request as they put it. It's not more
faith that they need. It's a different kind of faith: Mustard seed
faith.

Mustard weed was and still is the curse of farmers in Palestine. It
grows wild. Birds eat it but don't entirely digest its seeds and drop
them everywhere. It takes over fields and vineyards. It competes with
existing crops. Pulling it up does little good, because more birds just
bring more seed from somewhere else, and you're back in the same place
in a few weeks. It is persistent, irritating, and fast-spreading. It's
there whether you liked it or not. Much like Mesquite bushes and Goat
Head thorn plants here in West Texas.

That's the kind of faith we need, Jesus says, faith both small and
contagious enough to be carried everywhere by folks living like birds.
Not more. Not bigger. Not even deeper. Just contagious enough to be
caught dropped and then take root.

The countries in this week's Ecumenical Cycle of Prayer are almost
entirely Muslim with only tiny Christian communities surviving there.
But Christians are still there. And in some places, Christians are
spreading.

We got there because of mustard seed faith. That's how we'll continue to survive and spread, too.

Many people are afraid to share their faith. Don't be! Jesus just
wants you to sow seeds in others that you meet daily with your words,
deeds and actions. After you sow the seeds stand back and watch the Holy
Spirit do the rest of the work.