“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.'” (Luke 17:5-6 NIV)
Faith is so vital to the Christian life that Scripture tells us, without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). And yet faith is such a powerful gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9) that with just a tiny measure of it, the size of a mustard seed, Christ told His disciples they could move mountains. So, what does it mean to have “mustard seed faith”?
Certainly, the statement about uprooting trees by faith is not to be taken literally. No one can do such thing, no matter how great their faith. But the key to understanding the passage is the nature of faith, which is a gift from God. The mustard seed is not the smallest seed known today, but it was the smallest seed used by Palestinian farmers and gardeners. Under favorable conditions the plant could reach ten feet in height. Therefore, the conclusion is that the amount of faith needed to do great things is very small indeed. You see, the mustard seed even though small, will eventually grow into a huge tree. So, too, does the tiniest bit of faith, when it is faith in God, grow to immense proportions in the lives of believers and spreading out to influence all those they come into contact with. Thus, the key is not to be consumed with how small our faith is in regards to other people’s faith; but intead is to have faith in God, and trust Him to increase our faith.
“Dear Lord, I come before You in faith, trusting in Your ability and willingness to hear and answer my prayers. And Lord, when my faith is not as strong as it should be; when my faith is shaken by life’s trials, please Lord, increase my faith. Amen.