Like A Mustard Seed

By Pastor Teck Uy

To many of us, the kingdom of God is a mystery. However, the Lord Jesus, in his teachings, gave us an idea of what the kingdom of God is like. In one of the parables, he said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matt. 13:31-32) This fully illustrates how the kingdom of God here on earth will expand whether we like it or not. But as the kingdom of God expands, we need to respond with determination so that we shall not miss the opportunity to enter it. Jesus could not be more emphatic about this truth when he said, “From the time of John the Baptizer until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful people have been seizing it” (Matt. 11:12). Those who take the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ lightly will certainly be overtaken by those who are focused and are determined to persevere and hold on to the faith.

The undeterred expansion of the kingdom of God is also illustrated in the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel. In his dream, King Nebuchadnezzar was standing before a huge statue with its head made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,  its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. Suddenly, “a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them …. the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:32-35). This rock that the king saw was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ that was born as a baby boy but grew up to become a man. At the appointed time, he died to smash the work of the Evil One. His kingdom has since expanded from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. There is no place on earth today where the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has not been preached and it continues to expand until the second coming of the Lord.

When the kingdom of God expands, it is welcoming. It welcomes everyone that would like to come under its shade. It welcomes birds that will build their nest under it and even those that are only interested in picking its fruit. This is the reason the church is open to everyone. Many come to make it a home while others come only to seek temporary shelter. Those who make it a home may hop from branch to branch, but those who are only interested in what it can offer to fill their temporal needs soon fly away. But King David, in expressing his desire to live under the shelter of God, said, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty…Even the sparrow has found a hope, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young – a place near your altar” (Psalm 84:1,3). 

Jesus also used mustard seed to explain how faith in him works. He said, “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.” (Matt. 17:20). A simple yet pure faith in the Lord Jesus Christ should do wonders in our lives. No matter how formidable the problems will be, if we exercise our faith, we shall overcome. One of the most difficult problems that the disciples faced at the time of the Lord Jesus was to forgive others. When Jesus commanded them to forgive those who sinned innumerable times against them, they responded, “Lord, increase our faith”. Again, Jesus emphasized that it is not the size of faith that matters but the purity of it when he said, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you” (Luke 17:6). Indeed, faith is not something that is measurable according to the standard of this world. Rather, it is measured by our dependence and trust in God.

Just as the mustard seed can grow to become the largest garden plant, we should never despise our small beginning. Everything that we see as something” big” now had its small beginning. We only need to be faithful and God himself will make it grow. In espousing faithfulness, Jesus said in a parable, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matt. 25:21). Therefore, let us be faithful even in our small beginnings. Let us remember that God himself will reward our diligence and faithfulness. We only need a faith as small as a mustard seed to see things grow and become big. Let us exercise this faith for the glory of our Lord. Hallelujah!