Faith as mustard seed

Faith as mustard seed

The mustard seed is used as a startling metaphor of faith. It is a powerful symbolism of how faith takes over our life and our world.

The Roman author Pliny the Elder in his work Natural History writes: “Mustard… with its pungent taste and fiery effect is extremely beneficial to health. It grows entirely wild, though it is improved by being transplanted. But on the other hand when it has once been sown, it is scarcely possible to get the place free of it, as the seed when it falls germinates at once…”

This wild Mediterranean plant, when it is deliberately cultivated for its medical or culinary properties, has the ability to destroy the garden. This proverbially small seed grows wild and deadly in grain fields, taking over where it is not wanted. Getting out of control, it tends to attract birds within cultivated areas where they are not particularly desired.

This comparison of faith to the wild mustard seed suggests the phenomenal transformation of a life based on this relationship with God. Like a pungent shrub with dangerous take-over properties, faith can hardly be exercised in small and carefully controlled doses. Its own inner and supernatural vitality explains its revolutionary essence and character.

Faith changes our lives radically. Faith becomes so overwhelming that it eventually takes over one’s life. One’s life becomes part of the faith that promotes God’s kingdom. We become subservient to the requirements of the faith and the kingdom.

In the last analysis, faith is not a matter of favors done but of duties executed for the Master of that kingdom. Whatever we do, we as servants render our duty to our Master. Whoever we are, we are servants before the Lord. We live for service.