Guest Author – Kyle Benefield
Skyscrapers. Megacities. Hustle and bustle. Often “bigger, faster, and louder” seems to be the mantra of today’s society and it makes one wonder if God even cares about the small things in life. Today as we look at Mustard Seed Faith I want us to explore the possibility that growth in the Kingdom might not always look like a growth chart where up and to the right is the only valid trajectory.
Jesus said in Luke 17:6 “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you!” (NLT) I think society might have this conversation with Jesus: “A mustard seed?!?! Come on Jesus! Why are you so meek and mild? Wouldn’t it have been better for you to pick something big and powerful? Faith like a volcano! Faith like a great white shark! After all, we want our burritos as big as our head. Shouldn’t faith be more like a monster truck rally where the big and loud crush the small and defenseless? A mustard seed? Rookie mistake, Jesus!”
Elijah the prophet was looking for a sign from God while hiding in a cave in the side of a mountain (see 1 Kings 9:9-13). A wind came that was so strong that it tore the rocks away from the mountain; God wasn’t in the wind. Then a mighty earthquake struck and shook the ground; God wasn’t in the earthquake. After the earthquake was a powerful fire; God wasn’t in the fire. God wasn’t in the “bigger, faster, and louder.” Instead, God was in a gentle whisper.
When God came to Earth as the incarnate Jesus, he didn’t come as a tyrannical King, rather as a baby. Jesus could have been born in Jerusalem, the religious epicenter of that time. He could have been born in Athens, the culture and trade epicenter of the world. Jesus could have been born in Rome, the epicenter for political and military might. He didn’t. He was born in Bethlehem. A small insignificant village in a small insignificant part of the world.
Perhaps God does care about the small things in life that look insignificant to others. In thinking about our faith, maybe this means we shouldn’t always be looking for that next mountaintop experience. Could having faith like a mustard seed look like our daily, mundane things? Is it perhaps the boring right foot, left foot rhythm of our life that moves us slowly down the road? Zechariah 4:10 says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Do we look at the small things as being less important or less significant because they aren’t big, flashy, or shiny?
Mother Teresa was a person that lived this out. She didn’t seek fame. She didn’t seek affluence. Even her journal entries and writings point towards her insecurities and doubts. However, she had faith like a mustard seed that compelled her to keep going. “We can do no great things, only small things with great love,” she would respond when folks asked about her mountain-sized accomplishments. Let’s take to heart her words and her effective example of faith the size of a mustard seed.