I am a tiny person compared to the grand expanse of our world. If so desired I could pass by invisible to those around me. My minuscule existence could go unnoticed by everyone. I am a mustard seed.
The Bible talks about mustard seeds. Most frequently we hear it discussed in terms of our own faith:“I tell you the truth, if you have 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.” (Matthew 17:20-21)
There is another point in the Bible where a mustard seed is used as an illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree and birds come and make nests in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32)
Can we apply the idea of a mustard seed to our ministries? Absolutely! But first, let’s examine what a mustard seed truly is.
As you can see above, a mustard seed is almost microscopic. However, this little insignificant seed was illegal to plant according to Jewish law back in Jesus’ days. That is because when this plant grows it spreads outward as a weed-like vine. It goes from the tiniest seed to an enormous growth that entangles everything it touches. Gardens are conquered by the mustard seed.
Could we shape our ministries like a mustard seed? I think so. Jesus’ own ministry could be compared to a mustard seed. He began his ministry through twelve disciples, teaching them and training them to tell others. After all, “during his earthly ministry, he spent more time with these twelve men than with everyone else in the world put together.” (Platt, 89) Look at where we are at today. Jesus started with twelve, and after centuries of persecution, serving others in love, and telling people the Good News, Christianity has spread far beyond the twelve that began it.
This idea of a mustard seed ministry does not have to be done overseas on missions or service projects. It could be applied in our day-to-day lives. I talked about this a little bit in my previous post. By sharing love to others all around us, each and everyday, we can begin to make meaningful relationships with complete strangers. This is how our mustard seed ministry can begin. “The Jesus revolution is subtle. It starts small, like a weed in a garden, but it spreads. It reaches out, and everything it touches it graves and pulls in.” (Antonucci, 45)
That is the type of ministry I want to be a part of. I’m only one man trying to share the Good News. However, even I, a mustard seed, has the potential to create a radical transformation within a community. This is done by sharing with one person, then that person shares with another, and another, and so on and so forth; that is how a mustard seed ministry works. “Live for them. Love them, serve them, and lead them. Lead them to follow me, and lead them to lead others to follow me. In the process you will multiply the gospel to the ends of the earth.” (Platt, 93)
I love this idea and I believe it will be incredibly successful. Telling others about Jesus requires a strong, loving relationship with each other. It would be very difficult to teach people about Jesus, let alone have that person come to faith, without some sort of meaningful connection. In order for a mustard seed to be successful the person that accepts Jesus as their savior also needs to be trained in the Bible’s teachings, and strengthen their own faith before they can go out and tell others. Jesus spent his whole life doing that for his disciples before he sent them off in Matthew 28:19-20.
I want to encourage you to plant a weed within a community of non-believers. Begin talking to friends, family, co-workers. Recruit people to help you, but know that even if you start small you have incredible potential to grow out like a mustard seed does.
Sources: “Guerrilla Lovers,” Vince Antonucci
“Radical,” David Platt