Mark 4:30-32 (KJV)
Rev. Andrew Baskin
Jesus told the parable of the mustard seed at a time when His disciples were facing failure in their attempt to cast out the demonic spirit in a young boy. The distraught father brought the boy to Jesus for healing. Of course, Jesus rebuked the devil, and the boy’s sanity was restored. Then came the vexing question from the disciples, saying, “Why could not we cast him out?”
Contemporary Christian fathers ask: “Why can’t we heal cancer? Arthritis? Addiction? Blindness? Why are we powerless to invoke the power of the Holy Spirit to transform lives? The answer is found in Christ’s parable of the mustard seed.
In Matthew 13:31-34, Jesus says, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…nothing shall
be impossible unto you.” Mark’s account is similar to the version in Luke 13:18-19. It begins with two important questions: “And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?” Jesus answers by elaborating on the attributes of the tiny mustard seed. He says that the kingdom of God “is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches…”.
Fathers, times will get tough. Sometimes, you feel the weight of the whole world is on your shoulders and your responsibilities are too great for you to handle. You feel that no one notices your hard work and sacrifice. However, I want you to know that your dedication to your family, and your determination to raise your children in the Christian faith will reap a sure reward. I want to encourage you with this short narrative about the mustard seed. There are three observations about the tiny mustard seed that may help you.
First, size means nothing. Jesus used the mustard seed to make his case about the challenges that lay ahead because the disciples were familiar with it. They knew that it was “less than all the seeds that be in the earth” and yet it “shoots out great branches.” So Jesus compares their faith to the reproductive capabilities of this infinitesimal seed. He says, “If you have the faith of a grain of mustard seed…you will be able to grow the kingdom of God.” He wanted His disciples and us to understand that when it comes to growing the kingdom of God and doing the work of their Master, size means nothing. If a tiny mustard seed can produce a huge, hearty bush, then imagine what a tiny bit of faith can produce!
The disciples had failed to heal a boy possessed with a demonic spirit. Had “their faith been less than a grain of mustard seed?” If size means nothing, why couldn’t the disciples heal the boy? If all you need is a little faith to perform miracles in the kingdom of God, why aren’t there more miracles being performed? This leads to our next observation about the mustard seed.
Second, timing is everything. Jesus said, “when it is sown.” These four words suggest two things. WHEN denotes an occasion of time, that there is a time and place for everything. These four words also imply that ACTION is required. A seed left on the ground, unattended, will not produce a hearty bush. A farmer has to place the seed beneath the soil, continuously moisten the soil and daily expose it to the sun. There has to be some horticultural action before there can be any anticipated growth.
Likewise, faith left un-nurtured will not produce a miracle. Faith can move mountains, but only if it is first ‘sown’ in the good soil of the Word of God, and exposed to the Son of God. Moving Satan out of your way may necessitate more nurturing your” faith garden”!
And third, quality is better than quantity. This means even a little living faith, moving in harmony with the will of God can accomplish mighty things. In Matthew’s record, Jesus says that even mountains cannot stand before it.
When the disciples asked why they failed to cast out the demonic spirit, Jesus said, “because of your little faith!” Jesus was saying that the quality of their faith had failed them. Being baptized in the Jordan River was not enough; it was the beginning of their journey of faith. It was not the volume of their faith that needed tending; it was the voracity of their faith!
There was a time when I would read a certain number of Bible chapters each day. If I did not get through my predetermined quantity, I thought I was a backslider. Two hours later, I had forgotten what I had read. I shared my dilemma with another preacher. He said, “If I have just three minutes a day to devote to Bible reading, I devote one minute to reading and two minutes to thinking about what I have read!” I learned a valuable lesson that quality is better than quantity.
Fathers, remember three lessons we can learn from the mustard seed: Size means nothing. Timing is everything. Quality is better than quantity. When Jesus finished His lesson, He wrapped it up with these words about their failure to heal the young boy “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
It was a warning that we should not plunge ahead into the work of kingdom-building without first preparing for the challenge.
Fathers, if you are prepared then it’s time to sow your seed of service to your Savior!