Faith like a Mustard Seed


Matthew 17:20
“I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.


Kelly Fuhrman attends our Social Circle Campus, and over this past summer, Kelly dramatically encountered Jesus, and her life has never been the same. Kelly has experienced a lot throughout her life, but she is one of the most faith-filled individuals I know. Last fall, she came to church with a mini ziplock back that appeared empty, but upon closer inspection, there was a tiny seed in the bottom corner of the bag. She handed me a note with Matthew 17:20 - "if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." This little bag hangs on our refrigerator door, and I see it almost daily. Every day, I am challenged to increase in faith as I see this tiny seed.

I wish that growing in faith was as easy as being reminded of the words of Jesus, but sadly, this is not the reality for me. I am someone who struggles with a pragmatic view of life. Pragmatism is a way of life that asserts the truth of an idea lies in its practical efficacy - in other words, what is true is what works. This mindset does not consider the supernatural realm but settles for what can be controlled in our present reality. Our Western society is consumed with this ideology, which is the foundation of how most of us make our daily decisions. 

I recently read a story of a journalist who once asked Thomas Merton what he considered the leading spiritual disease of our time. His answer surprised his interviewer. Of all the things he might have suggested (lack of prayer, lack of community, poor morals, lack of concern for justice and the poor), he answered instead with one word: efficiency. Why? Because "from the monastery to the Pentagon, the plant has to run...and there is little time or energy left over after that to do anything else."

Reflecting on this quote from Merton, I quickly realized that efficiency is one of the great thieves of faith in my life. I am busy. I seek to control. I'm a planner. I have a laundry list of things that need to be done and a plan for accomplishing these tasks. If I am not careful, my life will be void of faith because I trust myself rather than the Creator of all things. How sad. 

In this passage of scripture, a desperate Father comes to Jesus looking for a miraculous healing of his demon-possessed son. The disciples are unable to free the young boy from the tormenting spirit, so they bring him to Jesus. Jesus rebukes the demon, and the boy is set free. Later, the disciples ask for an explanation of why they were unable to set the boy free; up until this point, they had had some success with similar situations—Jesus' response - faith. 

While I don't have it all figured out, and I still have a long way to go before I start speaking to the mountains, I have learned that the best way to grow in my faith is by simply doing the next right thing. We obey the Lord's voice, and our faith increases. These steps of obedience may seem insignificant or monumental, but with every step in the direction of Jesus, our faith grows exponentially. Eugene Peterson famously said that following Jesus is just a "long obedience in the same direction." Take small or large steps toward Jesus today in obedience, and watch how he will grow your faith!

Action Step

What step of obedience is Jesus calling you into today?

  • Trusting God with your finances by beginning the practice of generosity?
  • Becoming vulnerable with others by joining a community group?
  • Going public with your faith through baptism?
  • Inviting a friend or family member to join you at church this Sunday?
  • Simplifying your schedule so you can slow down enough to hear the Lord's voice? 
  • Something else?

Don't miss today's opportunity to grow in your faith by walking in obedience. 


Lord, I struggle with faith and often trust in my ability rather than looking to you for my help and provision. I want to have the faith of a mustard seed where I believe anything is possible with you. Please help me walk in obedience to your voice and grow my faith as I do. Lord, let me trust you more today than I did yesterday.
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