Sunday Devotional: Be like the mustard seed

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Mark 4:26-34 

Jesus said to the crowds:
“This is how it is with the kingdom of God;
it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land
and would sleep and rise night and day
and through it all the seed would sprout and grow,
he knows not how.
Of its own accord the land yields fruit,
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once,
for the harvest has come.”

He said,
“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
With many such parables
he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it.
Without parables he did not speak to them,
but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.

Mustard seeds are teeny tiny seeds measuring only 0.039 to 0.079 in (1 to 2 millimetres) in diameter and are colored yellow, brown and black. The seeds are used as a spice in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh; the leaves are stir-fried and eaten as a vegetable; the oil is used for body massage during extreme winters, as it is thought to keep the body warm.  Mustard seeds are a rich source of oil and protein: the seed has oil as high as 46-48%, and 43.6% protein. Mustard seeds generally take 8 to 10 days to germinate if placed under the proper conditions, which include a cold atmosphere and relatively moist soil. Mustard grows well in temperate regions. Major producers of mustard seeds include India, Pakistan, Canada, Nepal, Hungary, Great Britain and the United States.

In Mark 4, the Parable of the Mustard Seed is said to refer to faith — that our faith may begin as a tiny spark but, like the miniscule mustard seed, can grow and flourish into “the largest of plants” with strong branches that give shade and shelter to many birds.

The Parable may also refer to the universal Church that Christ founded, with Simon Peter as head. It too began small but grew to become the world’s largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers today who identify as Christians.

The Parable may also refer to our words and actions, every one of which carries consequences. Just remember that a word of encouragement or an act of kindness can have ripple effects beyond our expectation or imagination.

So, let us be humble mustard seeds.

Spread the good word. Give comfort and encouragement. Be kind.

Be the mustard seed that grows into “the largest of trees” with branches that give shade to many birds!

And may the peace and love of Jesus Christ, Our Lord be with you,


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1 year ago


1 year ago

Thank you Dr.E for this beautiful post. St. Vincent de Paul said, “Be kind, be kind, be kind, and you will be a saint.” The fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit help us in many ways to make our mustard seed grow and ultimately, flourish. We can change the world in our specific world, by at least one act of kindness every day. I am proud to be Catholic, the universal Church that houses Our Lord Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity in every Blessed Sacrament in every Catholic Church. God is with us always, so we can make our mustard seed grow!

1 year ago

Thank you for this. I’d all but forgotten, until you reminded me, that in my church youth group, it was quietly stylish to wear a mustard seed (encased in a sort of “magnifying” orb as a tiny pendant) necklace as a symbol of our faith and dedication to upholding others in faith. I have not seen one of these necklaces for many years and now wonder if anyone else has?

1 year ago
Reply to  DrE

I followed your lead and researched Etsy and other and am astonished at the number of places that I can obtain a mustard seed necklace …even today, so many years later than my Youth Fellowship days 🙂 I hope that this post leads others to re-establish this “secret message” of Evangelism & support to others, once again..almost like in the early days of Christianity when one had to draw a “fish symbol” in the dirt to secretly identify yourself as a Christian. In the USA today we need, sadly, another “secret” Conservative Christian ID….to me…this is it. I am sending for my mustard seed necklace today.