A Grain of Mustard Seed


“I want to have faith and be able to believe God to meet my needs, but it just doesn’t work for me. I can’t seem to have enough faith.” This statement is one which I have heard over and over again as I have ministered throughout the country. Since the Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6), then it is not only important but also imperative that we learn how to exercise faith in God.

In Jesus’ teachings on the subject of faith, He used illustrations which were familiar to the people. He likened faith to a “grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree…” (Matt. 13:31-32). He said that this tiniest of seeds would produce a great tree with branches reaching out to heaven. Concerning this mustard seed Jesus also said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matt. 17:20).

Jesus used an example of one of the smallest things imaginable in that day–a tiny mustard seed–to show that with only a small amount of faith we could reach out to heaven and nothing would be impossible to us. Why then does our faith sometimes falter and fail us? To answer this question Jesus used the analogy of the seed in the parable of the sower.

“And as he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside and birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground where they had not much soil. And at once they sprang up because they had no depth of soil… While anyone is hearing the Word of the Kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart. As for what was sown in thin soil, this is he who heard the Word and at once welcomes and accepts with joy, yet it has no real root in himself, but is temporary, inconstant… lasts but a little while; and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble. He is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him whom he ought to trust and obey, and falls away” (Matt. 13:4-5, 19-21, Amplified Bible).

So Jesus warned us that our faith in the Word of God can be snatched away by the enemy. There are many ways in which Satan can attack the believer and rob him of his faith. One of his most subtle tricks is to try to make us accept the responsibility for other people’s behavior. When you pray for your unsaved loved ones and instead of getting better they seem to get worse, don’t throw up your hands and say, “I guess I just don’t have enough faith.” Remember, you cannot accept the responsibility for others’ behavior. They must surrender their own wills to God. You pray for them and then commit them to God. And when You pray for someone’s healing, remember that it is not you that does the healing. It is the Holy Spirit through you, if He chooses to use you in that way. The person for whom you pray also has a responsibility to exercise faith.

Sometimes our seed of faith may take root in fertile ground, emerge as a tender young plant, but then become choked by the cares of this life (Matt. 13:7, 22). Our garden of faith becomes a weed-patch of worry, doubt and despair. When this happens ask yourself just how well the soil has been prepared. Has the Word of God been planted deep in your heart? This is what will take You through those times when You are tempted to stumble because it looks as if the Word of God doesn’t work for you.

It is one thing to have a knowledge of God’s Word, but it is still another to know how to make His Word work for you. Philippians 4:19 says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Is this workable? Absolutely! Let me tell you of an instance when it worked for me.

I had been invited to Quincy, Illinois, where I was to be the guest speaker for a ladies’ luncheon. The next evening I was scheduled to speak for the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship there and the following night I was to minister in a local church. Sharon Bell, my co-worker and accompanist, and I flew from Dallas to St. Louis where we transferred to a flight that would take us to Quincy. As we approached Quincy we were enveloped by a fog so thick it resembled potato soup. Unable to land, the pilot changed course and flew to Iowa instead of Illinois, where Sharon and I rented a car to drive back to Illinois.

Realizing that this delay would make us miss the luncheon, we wondered, “How will they make it without us? Can the Kingdom of God survive without us there?” Well, we learned a valuable lesson. God doesn’t have to use us–we are privileged that He does. It’s our pleasure; it’s our joy; it’s our blessing that He would choose to use us when He does.

We arrived to learn that the Kingdom of God had made it just fine without us. The meeting was a success and the Lord had greatly used a woman who had never before spoken for a luncheon. This was an opportunity for the beginning of a new type of witness and sharing ministry.

On our way to Quincy I had said to Sharon, “Let’s agree in faith that the Lord will provide the financial needs for this trip.” We knew we needed to receive $500 to cover all our expenses. This seemed like a huge amount to us. We had never believed God for so much money in our lives. But by faith we claimed God’s promise in Matthew 18:19, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” After the service that night I was handed a check to cover our expenses, and when I looked at it later I discovered it was for $100. This wasn’t enough to pay our way up there, much less get us back. Right then my faith began to waver a little. However, I said nothing to Sharon. The fact that my faith was under assault from the enemy was no reason to undermine hers. I said nothing to anyone–except the Lord.

The next day as I was alone in my room I went to God in Prayer. I reminded Him that we had agreed in faith for our needs to be met. I quoted the scripture in Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Then I took my Bible, opened it and held it up towards heaven. I said, “God this is your Word. Because it is Your Word, I’m believing you to perform it. I know Your Word works! The people don’t know about this need, but You do. You do! I don’t have to tell it, You know it. And You’re God.” I closed the Bible, tucked it under my arm, and marched downstairs to go to the evening service.

In my heart I had it all worked out how God was going to solve this dilemma. I just knew that the remaining $400 would come in the love offering that night. However, God’s ways are not always our ways. When the service was over and we were handed a check for our love offering, it was for $50.

I could easily have become discouraged at that point and said, “It looks as if the Lord has failed us this time.” But I didn’t. Instead I thought, “How exciting it’s going to be to see how God works this out!” That evening I was handed a check for $125 and the person said to me, “I meant to give this last night.” We were getting closer to our goal. The president of the F.G.B.M.F.I. chapter came up to me and said, “I couldn’t sleep last night. God told me to give you this,” and he handed me a check. We had sold a few of our records, too. That night when I went to my room and counted the money that had come in. It amounted to $510. God had even given us a dividend!

God had made provision for us through His Word to succeed in all that we do (Psalm 1). But we have to walk in His Word and do what His Word says to do. God is Your source. Don’t look to your left. Don’t look to your right. Look to Him. Then Your seed of faith will mature into a mighty tree that can attempt the impossible for God!


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    Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for novice blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

    • VJPM

      Thanks for your response, Clay. I don’t know if we have any particular advice other than keep it up! Glad to hear that you’re enjoying Vicki’s articles.

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    Mike Casey


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