Every good farmer in the time of Jesus knew better than to cultivate mustard seeds in his garden. Why? Mustard seeds are fast growers and spread quickly. Once established it is impossible to get rid of it. You could call the mustard plant an invasive species. In fact, mustard seeds have been compared to kudzu which everyone down here in the south knows will grow anywhere and on anything! Not only is this small mustard seed known for its rapid germination and quick growth is also has a very fiery pungent taste. I should also point out that the mustard seed grows so that birds may nest in its branches. Perhaps you’ve seen the cute depiction of mustard tree pictures with the beautiful birds, well that is not so charming to a farmer. The birds would be a constant threat to his seeds and crops.
Now, if we look to scripture we see Jesus telling us the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. (Mark 4:30-32) No, really! Jesus just said the kingdom of God is like a very small seed that grows and takes over a garden or field and can be next to impossible to get rid of. The Kingdom of God is a dangerous pungent shrub with amazing take over properties! Jesus, a revolutionary? You betcha!!
The Pharisees and leaders of the day would have been alarmed by these words since Jesus is basically telling them I’m not going anywhere and not only that you can’t get rid of me!
This parable of the mustard seed is more than just a story about a proverbially small seed that grows into a huge shrub tree and thus a parallel to our faith telling us that no matter the size of our faith we can do great things for God. (Matthew 17:19-20). Jesus is also looking for faith with a willingness to grow and spread especially where it may not be wanted. The tiny mustard seed beginnings of Christianity with just a few disciples has spread to huge proportions and now encompasses the entire world !!!
Do you have mustard seed faith?