What Does it Mean to Have Faith Like a Mustard Seed?

"And He said to them…. 'for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you'" (Matthew 17:20 NAS).

April Motl
What Does it Mean to Have Faith Like a Mustard Seed?

My son is in kindergarten so around our house we are pretty regularly rockin’ out to tunes from “Hide ‘Em In Your Heart” and “Psalty.” A song about having faith the size of a mustard seed from one of these little kid albums regularly gets stuck in my head. But of all the songs to have set on repeat in my mind, the truth about this “little” element of our spiritual journey, is a great encouragement to have running through my thoughts — even if it is off a kid’s album!

And He said to them…. “for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you (Matthew 17:20 NAS).

What Is a Mustard Seed?

A mustard seed is about one to two millimeters in size. Yet, the brush can grow upwards of 20 to 30 feet tall and wide. 

The picture the Lord painted for the disciples was one of hope! Our faith doesn’t need to be outwardly large to have a large impact.

The tiny mustard seed holds the potential of a 30-foot bush! A seemingly inconsequential speck of faith can move mountains!

As a mom, my days are filled with lots of small acts that I do with faith. Faith that God has entrusted this family to me to nurture, pray over, serve, etc. Faith that the growth that happens in our family is of eternal value. Faith that the witness of our family is part of a larger tapestry of testimony to God’s love and grace. Small acts done with hope that these seed-planting works will grow for the Lord’s glory.

When I wash my mind with the truth of mustard-seed thinking, I immediately find my heart invigorated for the tasks at hand! When I listen to the lady in the grocery store line who freely offers her non-mustard-seed-thinking advice about what I ought to be doing with my life, it’s like someone pulled the plug on my energy and I am weary in this work.

What Is Faith of a Mustard Seed?

So often our perspectives are shaped by magazine gloss and social media’s highlight reel. We can lose touch with the great gifts small acts can be in our life or someone else’s.  

Regardless of your station in life, your faith matters greatly in this life and eternity. You don’t have to be Billy Graham to be a great witness. You don’t have to be wealthy to give greatly (remember George Meuller? If you don’t, treat yourself to a Sunday afternoon movie/book and catch up on his inspirational life!) A seemingly small act of kindness, saying a faith-filled prayer for someone, or whatever faith-motivated act we take, no matter how small, can have eternal and mountain-moving impact on another’s life.

And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on” (Mark 12:41-44).

Jesus’ teaching regularly highlighted the small acts of great value. From the widow’s mite to the woman washing His feet (Mark 14:6-9), small gifts in the gospel pages are highlighted as having significant and eternal value.

How to Have Faith of a Mustard Seed

So, when we consider our life and our faith, are we using what we have to the fullest or have we decided that it is for someone else with bigger or better faith to do the witnessing, or the praying, or the giving? Have we figured that our contribution could never be enough to make a difference, so we hold back? Have we considered that what God has entrusted to us is meant to grow large and wide, like a mustard bush? Do we tend our faith with that sort of expectation?

Your faith is meant to grow and go! Just like a mustard seed! As we come into a new year and a new decade, I pray that you would see your faith would grow like a mustard seed and that you would be encouraged with fruit from your tiniest labors of love and faith!

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

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April Motl is a pastor’s wife, homeschool mom, and women’s ministry director. When she’s not waist-deep in the joys and jobs of motherhood, she writes and teaches for women. You can find more encouraging resources from April here and here.


Originally published December 10, 2019.