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Eternity 121 - The Mustard Seed

(Matthew 13:31-32 NKJV) Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, {32} "which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."

(Mark 4:30-32 NKJV) Then He said, "To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? {31} "It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; {32} "but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade."

(Luke 13:18-19 NKJV) Then He said, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? {19} "It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches."

(Matthew 17:20 NKJV) So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

(Luke 17:6 NKJV) So the Lord said, "If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.

The "mustard seed" is the small insignificant thing that gains the attention of Christ "the Man" so that He plants it on His field or in His garden, and even though it is "the least" because it is the seed of faith and part of the Kingdom of Heaven, it becomes mighty, shoots forth, has many branches and is a mighty blessing.

There are many mustard-seeds in the natural world that bear no fruit. They end up blown by the wind or ground up in the mustard pot. But this tiny mustard seed is chosen. It is picked up. It is carried, it is planted and it grows. It is not a different kind of mustard seed with special powers. It is an average, ordinary garden-variety mustard seed. But it is simply the one chosen to be sown in the field or tended in the garden - and it grows from the life that is within it, tended by the care of God.

A mustard-seed ministry is a small ministry of great faith and spiritual life that is chosen by God to receive His care and become great, a church with many branches, a mission that "shoots forth". All such growth is from God. ( 1 Corinthians 3). A ministry is not necessarily a "mustard-seed" because it is small. Some ministries are small because they are unbelieving or mismanaged. Its not the smallness, its the life, the faith, the living quickness. And mustard-seed ministries do not remain small for long. They grow, they flourish, they send forth their shoots. The parable of the mustard-seed does not teach that "small is beautiful" rather it teaches that "mighty growth comes from living faith". The seed does not stay small, it becomes huge.

The mustard-seed tells us that God can regard that which is seemingly small and unimportant as long as it has potential for growth and is alive and full of faith. Four wet young men, praying in a haystack during a thunderstorm started a might revival in the USA. A German monk with a few ideas about Romans started the Reformation. A tiny Albanian nun from an atheist country became Mother Teresa and founded a whole order. The kingdom of heaven mustard-seeds are in fact spiritual dynamite. Countless ministries come and go without being mustard-seeds. They sputter along with a few offices, struggle for funds, and end in a quarrel. They don't really have the Kingdom life, or they lose it early on. On the other hand mustard-seed ministries have powerful prayer meetings and the "zing" of real faith.

Above all else mustard-seed ministries are God's idea not man's idea. They are the seed He picks up and plants. They flow from His vision and calling and those in them know that this is not just a program or a good idea or even "meeting a need" but something birthed in God and by God and for God. Church A might become large so one day the pastor says 'we are large now, we should plant another church because that is what big churches do". I can practically guarantee that church-plant will struggle because its birthed in one man's concept alone. On the other church B is in prayer and the leaders say " I think God is calling us to plant a church in Xtown and he wants Bill to lead it." That is much more likely to succeed. It stands a very good chance of being a true mustard-seed ministry because it is birthed in a word from God heard by many leaders together. Jesus only did "what He saw His Father doing". He moved at God's initiative, not according to His own philosophy. If that is true of our Lord, it should also be true of us.

Mustard-seed ministries have mustard-seed faith and know that nothing is impossible with God. To put it another way mustard-seed ministries know that God loves them and blesses them and are confident of His grace upon them and are certain that they "have all the luck they need". Let me explain that last phrase. Here in the Philippines nearly all success is attributed to luck and many use magic charms and have lucky numbers etc. However as I have reflected on that I have seen that this means they do not understand justification. Let me elucidate...

Justification means that the God who made heaven, and earth and the seas and everything in them, now loves me with an everlasting love and that I am precious in His sight, that far from being condemned I am shown grace upon grace, that He who gave us His Son will, with Him give me all things and bestows all favor upon me and blesses me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (Hebrews 1:3). Since the very Creator loves me passionately I do not need the favor of an idol, a spirit or a charm. The one with all the power in Heaven and on Earth loves me very dearly and should I need a storm-stilled, a mountain moved or a mulberry tree cast into the sea He will be more than happy to oblige. Just this evening I was in a prayer meeting with a friend who raised her daughter from the dead after she had been drowned for 2 hours then resuscitated another in the hospital! These sort of people have one thing in common, they are absolutely totally sure that God loves them enough to move heaven and earth on their behalf, even though they are just ordinary garden-variety mustard seeds.

Thus faith and love replace luck as the source of hope for Christians. Mustard-seed people know that the Universe is not a roulette wheel or a machine but a place ordered by a God who "works all things together for good to those who love Him". When you believe Romans 8:28 and John 1 and believe you are talking to the God whose hands are on the levers of Creation then you can ask for a mountain to be moved or a mulberry tree uprooted or a breakthrough in your ministry and you will receive it. However if you are uncertain that God really loves you, if you think that He is not interested in making your joy full, if you doubt that He wants to bless you and reward you a hundredfold and grant you all good things or if you think your sin can deflect His love, or in fact has deflected it, that the cross has not really dealt with it once and for all time, then you will receive little or nothing. You will resort to programs, you will seek luck, you will follow trends, you may even read the stars! You will run in small anxious circles because you do not believe.

If you feel that you do not yet have the quick, living faith of the mustard-seed believers who have grasped the glory and grace of the Kingdom of Heaven then I suggest you read right through the New Testament underling every indication of God's love and every promise you can claim. Think on these things until they give birth to faith in your heart, for faith comes through hearing the word of Christ.