I am reminded today of a conversation I had a few years ago. A young woman and I were talking at the local coffeehouse, and I recall that she made a reference to her favorite necklace— a mustard seed incased in the pendant. I remember feeling intrigued by the piece of jewelry, for I was quickly reminded of the symbolism behind the mustard seed.
This past week, I sang at a local church, and I shared one of my newest compositions called “I Believe.” The song talks about the doubts that might assail a Christian even though simple belief is present. But even though we might face the questions of life, we can still be assured that He is real and that He will carry us through. There is a line in the song that references the text from Matthew 17:20: “…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. “
The mustard seed is commonly known as one of the smallest seeds we could ever imagine. In Matthew 13, Jesus tells the parable of the mustard seed, which a man planted in his field. When given the chance to grow, it becomes one of the largest garden plants and matures into a tree. The birds of the field can then come and nest in its branches.
After sharing “I Believe” at the service that morning, I was engaged in conversation with a gentleman from the congregation. He thanked me for sharing the story behind the song, and we got to talking about the idea of the mustard seed. For those of you who read my blog regularly, you may recall an entry I posted a few weeks ago entitled “Deeper Vision.” In that post, I recount a story about the very encounter that inspired the writing of “I Believe.” I battled faith and unbelief with the person I reference in “Deeper Vision,” and even though I walked away from that experience feeling beaten down and weak to the core, I knew in some small way, I had planted a seed. The gentleman at the church agreed with me when I shared that part of the story and encouraged me not to be discouraged about what I had earlier deemed as a lost opportunity. “Think of that little mustard seed you planted that day,” he told me. “Some day in the future, you might see the rewards of your labor. One day that person’s faith will flourish like a tree, spread its branches, and welcome others into the Kingdom.”
So today, I see the mustard seed in a whole new light. First, if I have the faith— even the size of a mustard seed— I can accomplish great things with the Lord on my side. As I work to plant seeds of faith in others, my life (like the tree) can flourish and be a witness to those around me, drawing each person closer to Christ. So you see, the mustard seed, though small, is a powerful symbol with great worth and deeper purpose.
I would like to close with the chorus from my song “I Believe.” The lyrics provide a glimpse into the faith that I hold so dear.
But it’s a hope; it’s a peace.
It’s a joy that overwhelms me
And love that will not cease.
He sustains all I need.
It’s a faith that moves mountains
With the smallest mustard seed.
So I believe. I believe.