…if you have faith the size of a mustard seed… Matthew 17:4-21 Seriously, faith the size of a mustard seed, who has that kind of faith? It took me some time but I realized it’s not about size at all! It’s about the character of the seed. Pliny the Elder, who lived between 23 and 79 C.E., wrote in his encyclopedia “Natural History”: With its pungent taste and fiery effect, mustard is extremely beneficial for the health. It grows entirely wild, … when it has once been sown, it is scarcely possible to get the place free of it, as the seed when it falls germinates at once. (Pliny, “Natural History” 19.170-171; Rackham et al. 5.528-529) John Dominic Crossan (professor emeritus of Depaul University) wrote; “The point is not that the mustard plant starts as a proverbially small seed and grows into a shrub of three or four feet, or even higher, it is that it tends to take over.” Whether wildly sown or purposefully planted, once faith the size of a mustard seed takes root, don’t hinder it with doubt. Allow it to flourish like fire in every aspect of our lives and let’s get ready to start “moving mountains!”
‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’ Jesus’ response to the man lying by the porticos in Jerusalem could easily be a command for us. The statement reminds me of the slogan “Just do it” made popular by a notable sneaker company some years ago. Of course it is easier said than done. Much like the man in John’s Gospel, these days we have plenty of forces that hinder our own movement towards reaching our goals. We know that many successful athletes learn to rise above the physical challenges of the body as well as the external challenges from the naysayers, haters, and those who have something to gain by their success or failure. All of which affect the mind’s capacity to believe in one self. I believe from a spiritual perspective we must have the same resolve to believe in the power and authority of Christ within us as we face those same physical and spiritual challenges. How is it possible for a multitude of descendants to come from one man except by the grace of God and that same man’s fullest capacity to believe? While God does not need our cooperation for his purpose to be fulfilled, how much more are we blessed when we choose to believe? Yes we have rules, regulations and rituals, but we shouldn’t allow them to keep us from moving forward. When convention tells us that we don’t have the capacity, we shouldn’t allow them to be an excuse. Finally, when we find ourselves standing, we should not allow them to be used for gain while intentionally using them to the destruction of others. Thus, much like the Apostle Paul, our redemption and reward will be received through one sacrifice and our own capacity to believe and willingness to stand.