Sermon: Mustard Seed Faith

Mustard Seed Faith
Luke 17:5-6
2 Oct 2016

Former CNN journalist Larry King once told this story of three farmers who had gathered each day to pray in a field stricken by a severe drought. The three men got down on their knees and prayed that the skies would pour forth the much needed rain.  They had done this day after day without any results.  One morning, a stranger approached and asked the three farmers what they were doing. They all responded, “We are praying for rain.”  As the newcomer looked at each of them, he shook his head and said, “No, I don’t think so.”  The first farmer protested, “Of course we’re praying.  Can’t you see we are down on our knees pleading for the rain?”  The stranger then advised them that their efforts would never work.  The second farmer jumped in and said, “We are not asking just for ourselves, but for all the families and livestock in the area.”  The stranger said, “You’re wasting your time.”  The third farmer, now a bit angry, asked, “Okay, what would you do?”  The stranger said, “If I were in your shoes, I would have brought an umbrella.”

My topic for this morning is Mustard Seed Faith. It is the anticipation that God will answer our prayers, and that he can move the unmovable and accomplish the impossible.

My text is Luke 17:5-6.   It is only 2 verses.  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. This is the Word of God.  Thanks be to God.

The mustard seed is about the size of the small letter o, 12 pitch, Times New Roman: o.  It is indeed very small.  For a size demonstration, here is a photo with a mustard seed inside an earring, sitting next to a quarter.


But when you take this very seed and plant it in the ground, it can grow almost 10 feet tall with branches strong enough to hold small birds. The yellowish green flowers have four petals, and some say it is formed in the shape of a cross.


In this passage of scripture, Jesus used the example of a mustard seed to show how faith can move obstacles.

Here is an example of mustard seed faith at work: A number of years ago, a young boy in Edinburgh, England attended a church prayer meeting   He confided to the lay minister that he wished his sister would start reading the bible.  The boy was sure if she started reading the bible, his sister would make her profession of faith and have Christ in her life.  The lay minister asked, “Son, do you really think so?”  The boy replied, “Yes sir I do and the next time there is a prayer meeting, will everyone pray for my sister?”  The lay minister said, “Well it shall be done?”  The next week, the lay minister mentioned to those assembled that this young lad was anxious that this sister would begin to read the Bible, and requested people pray for her.  The boy got up and left.  The next week, when he came back, the lay minister said, “Son, I thought it was very rude of you to get up during the prayer service and leave, especially when we were praying for your sister.”  The boy said, “But sir I didn’t mean to be rude.  I thought I would just go home and see my sister reading her Bible for the first time.”

The boy clearly had mustard seed faith. With that type of faith, we expect to watch and see that our prayers are answered, just as that little boy did and just as the stranger suggested to the farmers that they should carry an umbrella.

As a pastor in my first United Methodist parish, our church was preparing to participate in a parade where we were to have a float. The trailer was in the parking lot along with all the materials, but there were no workers to help.  I wanted to panic, but instead I committed it to prayer; I knew everything would turn out okay, and that God would come through.  I just wasn’t sure how.  I made one phone call, and a man with carpentry and electronic skills came over.  He put most of the difficult part of the float together by himself.  We had a successful parade; I believe we won a trophy.

Romans 10:17 “So faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.”

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

A religious life with a neatly packaged set of beliefs, such as the golden rule or the 10 commandments is not enough. We need to believe.  Mustard seed faith believes God will help us overcome the difficult and the impossible.  For our mustard seed faith to grow, there must be the combination of personal prayer and Bible reading.  With mustard seed faith, we will have to put a lot of effort into feeding our faith; this will give us the confidence to believe God will meet our needs.  But in the beginning, all we need is to start with a little faith and watch it grow.

In 1972, NASA launched an exploratory space probe called Pioneer 10. Its primary mission was to reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and all the moons, gather additional information about the planet’s magnetic field, and send this information back to Mission Control.  The Pioneer 10 space mission was supposed to last 3 years.  Remarkably it lasted about 30 years with a tiny 8 watt radio transmitter still working.

In the spiritual realm, a faint message can go a long way. Our prayers with just a little bit of faith can reach the heart of God.  With Mustard Seed faith, we know beyond a shadow of doubt that God hears and will answer our prayers.

Mustard Seed Faith Quotes:

  • Faith is seeing the light with your heart when all your eyes see is darkness.
  • Sometimes all you need is faith as big as a mustard seed and God will do the rest.

Now we also need to be careful and sensible about this. When we lived in Ft. Knox, KY, we knew a young lady who took her mustard seed faith to the extreme, which didn’t meet the common sense test.  She wanted to get married in the worst way and asked God to send her a husband within the coming year.  This woman bought a wedding dress, rented a hall for the reception, and ordered a cake even though there was no man in her life.  To make a long story short, she got involved with someone who was totally wrong for her.  Fortunately, she broke off the engagement.  A couple of years later, she did get married, but this was in God’s timing.

When it comes to Mustard Seed Faith, answers to prayer will be in God’s will and in His timing. Mustard Seed Faith means to embrace a way of life that contradicts most of life.  As a church we need our mustard seed faith for the following:

  • We need mustard seed faith for adult children to find the Lord and come back to church.
  • We need mustard seed faith for those loved ones to be delivered from certain addictions.
  • We need mustard seed faith to deal with impossible situations.
  • We need mustard seed faith for those to find employment.
  • We need mustard seed faith for those who need a healing.
  • Some need mustard seed faith to tithe or give 10% to the work of the Lord.
  • We need mustard seed faith for a spiritual awakening in this area.

Is there a situation in your life where you need mustard seed faith?