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4/9/2020 – The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Passage: Matthew 13:31-32, Mark 4:30-34, Luke 13:18-19

Written By: Camille Brinegar – Undergrad

What is the kingdom of God like? It is like a mustard seed, which man took and planted is his garden.

When I was looking over the Lent parables, I immediately wanted to do the mustard seed parable, because it is one that everyone knows. From childhood storybooks to Sunday school songs, if you grew up in the church you have heard about the mustard seed. I understand why it's everywhere, because if you tell little kids their faith will grow and grow no matter how small it starts, it's pretty inspiring to their ears.

After meditating on these verses and trying to fully embrace the meaning, I couldn’t help but focus on the seed. The mustard seed is our faith, starting “the smallest of all seeds” until it grows and becomes one of the largest garden plants. I researched what it is like to grow a mustard plant from a mustard seed, and the results surprised me. The size of a mustard seed is about 1-2 mm big, but grows to upwards of 20 feet tall. When you plant a mustard seed, it is a relatively easy plant to maintain if given the proper water, sunlight, and spacing. However, you have to be on watch because sometimes when they are growing, they bolt (or flower) too fast, taking them off their harvest cycles and causing the plant to not produce proper crops. Picturing our faith as the seed, if you grow too fast in your faith it will not be as fruitful. I believe Jesus is telling us to not rush with our faith. We are the mustard seed and we must not flower too quickly. Take faith slowly so we can fully grow to our true potential in God.

It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.

Mustard plants that are fully developed become the biggest garden plant there is, over 6,000x its original seed size! To me, it is inspiring to imagine how big faith can become if we nurture it slowly and give it everything it needs. After reflecting, I think real-world practices of faith that can take the images of water, sunlight, and space are quiet time, worship, and community. And then once faith is flourished, we become like the mustard tree holding up birds, by serving in the community and bringing people to Christ.

Although this is probably not the first time you have heard about the mustard seed parable, I urge you for it to not be the last time. Because, after reading the verses over and over and really meditating on them, I see just how much Jesus wants our faith to flourish.

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