Faith the size of a mustard seed

Published 3:00 pm Sunday, October 29, 2023

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” — Hebrews 11:1

Faith, that elusive commodity, is found in all human beings, or at least the ability to have faith is within all of us. It is a quality present in all Christians, not always equal in effect; in its fully developed state it is the most powerful of all gifts from God. Justified by our faith we live and believe unto salvation (Galatians 3:11). Faith is more than merely believing, it is knowing, and knowing that we know. The promises of God are sure and certain (Philippians 1:6-7).

Noah, Abraham, David, and others, put their faith to the ultimate test.

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Faith can’t be measured in volume or quantity, beyond stating that it is present. To determine faith’s true value, we must observe its results after the fact, when the unseen becomes visible, and the substance of our hope is revealed.

It is this qualitative analysis that Jesus uses in our Scripture passage. “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.’” (Luke 17:6).

Faith as, or like a mustard seed, is sufficient to move whatever obstacle that hinders God’s will in our lives. Mustard seed, or rye grass seed, turnip seed, and I’m sure many other seeds, are created so efficiently to sprout and grow, that they literally can’t not sprout. Given minimal moisture, soil, and sunlight, they will literally sprout on any surface, in the back of a truck, the floorboard of a tractor, or any implement used in the planting process.

It is this type of faith that Jesus speaks about, a faith that refuses to fail, refuses to quit — a faith that is determined to believe against all odds. He was not speaking of a faith that can be measured in amount; Jesus here speaks of a faith that is immeasurable, that cannot be denied. Not just believing, but knowing that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and if He is the author and finisher, then it can no more fail than He can.

We must, by faith, join ourselves to Jesus, and live like we are equipped with faith as a mustard seed — a faith that can’t fail.

The Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired pastor.