Mustard Seed Faith

In the Book of Matthew, chapter 17, a man approached Jesus and asked for help with his son who was possessed by a demon. The man reported that he brought the boy to the disciples, but they were not able to help. The words Jesus spoke next to his disciples give me chills.

17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.

My heart hurts when I think of the times I push Jesus to ask these questions of me. Am I the only one? Do you also feel the sting of His disappointment?

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

A young woman and I were talking about this story. She feels that her workplace is a major battleground for spiritual warfare because of the burdens in the lives of her clients. She helps young children who come from broken homes full of drugs and abuse. She hears stories about family members in jail, about sexual information from 5-year-olds who should not know anything about what they’re reporting, and about adults who physically harm the children in their care. 

While this young woman loves her job and the children she counsels, she needs to know how to battle those demons on behalf of the children and then release the evil from herself. The pictures in her mind visit her in dreams, and the experiences at work bleed into a dark stain in her personal life. She wants to have the mustard seed of faith to overcome evil and make her workplace one of peace. 

The young woman talked to a friend about her concerns, and the friend explained that the mustard seed parable brought her to her knees when saw the mountains out West for the first time. The friend wondered, “How can a human possibly move a physical structure that big?” The conversation made the young counselor feel worse because her problem did not seem as big as the physical mountains.

However, the result of this young woman’s work is a human. It’s a truth for anyone who helps people; we never see the final product of our efforts. We can only see incremental gains along the way. I asked the young woman to look at the scripture in a new light. 

She is not responsible for changing the entire workplace and community by herself even though she originally saw those as the mountains she intended to move. The larger systemic issues of drug use, crime, racism, poverty, low education, economic factors, homelessness, and poor parenting along with many other issues won’t likely be changed by one person. Still, this strong young woman cultivates relationships with individual children and feels the mountainous burdens on their lives. She wants to move those mountains even though she only meets with the children for a small amount of time. 

I see the mustard seed as the words she says to the children. She plants positive ideas, techniques to deal with trauma, and self-control into every conversation. Her mustard seeds of faith extend into the hearts of those children daily, and without her knowing when or which words, her faith-spread light will take root and help recovery grow, one student at a time. 

In the future, those children will remember what she has taught them, and because of those tiny seeds of faith words, the lives of those children can be moved, with God’s help, from the trauma now into a beautiful future. Tending to the children’s decisions and knowledge can bring huge changes in their lives as they keep making one more good decision at a time and leaving evil behind them. 

This young woman’s job is to be a light in her dark workplace, to be certain that each mustard seed of faith she sows will grow a little at a time. Eventually, her words can open the children’s hearts to God’s offer of salvation and move them from the mountain of darkness to a life of light.

May we all plant our mustard seeds with the faith that Jesus offers us. May we see evidence of the mountains moving.

Published by

Lori Vandeventer

I am an author, teacher, librarian, speaker, coach, and bringer of ideas to empower others.