It’s one of the famous sayings of Jesus, that he tells his disciples about having faith as “a mustard seed.” In The Fire of Delayed Answers, Bob Sorge notes the familiar characteristics of a mustard seed that do much to explain what Jesus meant when he used the metaphor.
It is a very tiny seed, Sorge says. “It grows very quickly and quite tall. Being an annual herb, it has striking growth – some plants will grow as high as twelve feet in a matter of weeks.” And I would add one more: the flower of the mustard plant is beautiful (as shown in the photo above).
Faith, like a mustard seed, can grow. It can grow quickly. It can grow large.
And because it is an annual herb, it has a season, like a life has a season. It’s created, born, flourishes for a set time, and then declines, ultimately ending in death. Death s a part of the natural order of life.
I’ve been pondering this idea of seasons lately for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the recent death and burial of my mother. She was 90; she had lived a long life. Her seasons had come and were finally gone. From dust to dust.
My father died some 27 years ago, and the passing of my mother means more than just being without parents. It means I’m coming to assume the place of my grandparents. My father’s mother was the same age I am now when I was born. My mother’s mother was 10 years older. I never knew either of my grandfathers.
I am now of their generation. It’s an odd feeling, and yet it’s part of the natural order of life.
I think about my grandmothers and this question of faith. My mother’s mother was a staunch Lutheran, as was my mother. My father’s mother, the one I closest to, was a staunch Southern Baptist (my father was not). The story of my two grandmothers’ faith, or faiths, is part of that mustard seed understanding. In ways that perhaps even they didn’t know, they contributed to my faith. Just like, in ways I may not even know, I’m contributing to the faith of my two little grandsons.
Mustard seed faith grows large and can occupy a lot of space.
And it is something that can be quite beautiful.
Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been reading The Fire of Delayed Answers. This discussion of the chapter “Don’t Cast Away Your Confidence” concludes the discussion of the book. To see more posts on this chapter, please visit Sarah at Living Between the Lines.
Photograph by Morena Sangiorgio via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.