How small and insignificant the mustard seed is! It’s so small that even a bug or a bird would hardly notice it. And that little seed doesn’t have faith in itself when it goes into the ground. Surely it doesn’t think, “I may look small now, but you watch, in a few years I’m going to be really big.” It just goes into the ground and does what it’s supposed to do, and it becomes a huge tree.
As a seed, it didn’t feel a lot of worth in its own greatness. It probably sat down there on the ground, looking at the huge things around it, and felt really small. But our Master said that the Kingdom of Heaven is going to be like that. He was comparing something as vast as the Kingdom of Heaven to something as tiny as the tiniest seed.
He must have felt as small as a mustard seed Himself at times. And His followers were just a little rag-tag bunch of men that were barely making it. They had not gone to any fancy schools, or even studied much at all. Yet our Master had the sense that the whole universe was resting upon His shoulders, and upon those who would follow Him. And who was He? He was just nothing but a mustard seed.
Maybe one of those little seeds just happened to have been caught in a gust of wind that blew by our Master as He sat there, considering these deep things. And He picked it up on His finger and examined its smallness. He may have thought, “Oh, this little insignificant seed…” And then came that horrible, depressing doubt from the evil one, “So, who do you think you are, anyway? What high hopes do you have? You are as insignificant as that little mustard seed! Give up now; you’ll never become a tree. You talk about the universe and the stars, righteousness and ruling, many awesome things, but who do you think you are? You’re just nothing!”
But somehow that little seed just does what little seeds do, and ends up turning into a great and mighty tree. One plants, another one waters, but it’s our Father who makes it grow.1 So all the little seed has to do is be obedient and fall into the ground and die. That’s all. There is no way he could get organized enough to plan out how he’s going to become the huge tree that he wants to be. He just has to die. And then our Father makes him into what he’s destined to be.
It is so encouraging that our Master compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed. I’m sure He looked around at His rag-tag bunch of followers and wondered sometimes… It got very hard for them, and He saw Peter puzzling, and John struggling, and people falling away, and at one point He said to them, “Are you going to leave Me, too?” But they said, “Where would we go? You are the only one who has the words of eternal life.”
And so there they were… just a little, tiny mustard seed…