Small as a mustard seed


Audio of sermon


In our house when we  suggest  getting a takeaway meal what usually happens is a  5 or 6 way debate on what we should get –

Pizza or curry  or fish & chips? Sometimes there’s someone who wants a burger or something else entirely – seeing as we don’t live in a great metropolis which has all  those choices in one spot, we have to end up making a decision.

I have to confess  that 9 times out of ten my choice would be  curry, and when the children were smaller, unless  we were eating without them, that was their least likely choice.

“ it’s too spicy” was the usual cry, or as  it often came out “ it’s too spikey”

If you’ve ever made your own curries or other Indian dishes, and attempted to grind your own spices – you’ll know that mustard seeds are slippery little characters, small & round and determined in every way to escape the grinder, but they are essential to the flavour and finished heat of the dish.

They may be small but they would certainly be missed.

In our Gospel reading today Jesus tells the disciples that if they had faith  like a mustard seed they could command a tree to uproot and plant itself in the sea. In other words, something extraordinary –just from something so small.

We often feel that our faith is so small, we couldn’t possibly shift a blade of grass –let alone a whole tree.

It’s very easy to become dispirited and disillusioned.

We can ask ourselves, “ why does nothing change” Why do I feel so disempowered? I don’t *even* have faith as small as a tiny seed…

What is faith about?

I think part of Jesus’ meaning here is not just about quantity of faith and how much of it you need  to believe that God can do things,

after all God will work regardless  of whether we believe in him or not –

He works regardless of whether we think he’s doing the right thing, or he’s answering our particular prayers, because he’s much bigger than that, much bigger than our small boundaries and limited imaginations.

Faith is not about willing God to do something because we really really believe it… or really really want it.

Some of you may have read the books of Adrian Plass, a very funny Christian writer and speaker –he wrote  his Sacred Diaries –based on a similar format to the Adrian Mole secret diaries  and in one entry he is sat at his desk trying to move a paperclip in faith

Monday January 6th “Went into the Christian bookshop on my way home from work tonight.
“All those books!
“Gerald says Christian paperbacks are like Chinese meals. Very satisfying at the time, but it’s not long before you want another one.”
“Bought a really great book about faith this time, though. It’s called ‘Goodness gracious–in God’s name, what on Earth are we doing for Heaven’s sake?’
“A very witty title I feel.
“It’s all about how Christians should be able to move mountains by faith, if they are really tuned into God.
“Very inspiring.
“Waited ’till there was no-one around, then practised with a paper-clip. Put it on my desk and stared at it, willing it to move. Nothing! Tried commanding it in a loud voice.
“Gerald came in just then, and said, ‘What’s all the shouting about, Dad?’
“Could hardly tell him I was shouting orders at a paper-clip.
“Said I was practising voice-projection.
“He said, ‘What for?;
“I said, ‘I don’t know.’ Felt really stupid.

Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass aged 37 ¾

Faith is more about understanding how much God can & will do in our lives and our world, if we’ll just let him.

Faith is like the key, unlocking the potential of what God has for us,

It’s the spark that lights the fuse, that sets off the firework – the spark on its own won’t set the sky ablaze but the firework won’t light without the spark.

Faith is small, but powerful, like the mustard seed, without which the curry will have no heat and flavour and the meal will taste bland.

To have faith like a mustard seed is to have hope,  hope in God,

Hebrews 11 says

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. 

And in the translation The Message

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. 

Faith enables us to trust in Gods plans for us, it enables us to hope in what he’s promised, and to work with him to build for his Kingdom.

When we have faith we begin to have a can do attitude,  not because we  think that we can, but because we know that God can.

We bring our prayers and our hopes to him, in faith,  understanding that his  ability to do more than we can imagine or think is there, at our disposal.

In our faith we say ”yes” to God’s power working in & through us, transforming our lives, and our world.

Flavouring our plans our hopes  our work with the firey taste of life.

Our faith can be as small as a mustard seed, but it is a faith in something so amazing, so powerful and so transforming.

Our faith may be small, but it packs a punch because it is faith  in the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead!

If we have even a tiny faith in that power, imagine the consequences.

So when we feel discouraged, and that our faith is weak or ineffectual, let’s not think about what our faith looks like, or how big it is, let us focus on what , on who, our faith is in, –

Our great God, who can do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine –to him be the glory, for ever.



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