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October 2013

Mustard Seed Faith

Pentecost Proper 22; 20th Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Reference: Luke 17:5-6

From “Scolding the Snakes”   

Etching by Jan Luyken

Etching by Jan Luyken

Preparation: Bring a packet of small seeds, a little pot of dirt, and, if possible, some small sprouts growing in a pot.

Sometimes it seems really hard to have faith in God. We can’t see God; we can’t hear God answering our questions or our prayers. At times we might wonder if we even have much faith at all. Jesus’ own disciples felt the same way sometimes. They had Jesus right there with them, but still they felt like they didn’t have enough faith.

One day the disciples said to Jesus, “We need more faith. Tell us how to get it.” Jesus didn’t really give them a direct answer. He didn’t say, “Go down the street to the health food store and you can pick up a pound of faith there.” But he did give them an answer—even though it seems a little hard to understand. He said, “Even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May God uproot you and throw you into the sea,’ and it would obey you!” (Luke 17:6 NLT).

A mustard seed is very small. I have some seeds here that are about the same size as a mustard seed. (Distribute seeds so kids can examine them.) Do you think you might have faith at least as big as a mustard seed? That doesn’t seem like a lot of faith, does it? Will these seeds ever amount to anything? If we just hold the seeds in our hands and never plant them, the seeds definitely will never get any bigger.

What would happen if we planted these seeds? (Let children answer.) The seeds would sprout and grow into plants that are much bigger than the seeds. A huge tree can grow from a tiny seed.

Maybe Jesus was trying to get his disciples to see that it really wasn’t their faith that was so powerful; it was what God could do with that faith. God could do amazing things with their lives when they put their trust in him. Just as you have to put the seed in the soil for it to grow, you have to actually put your faith in God for your faith to grow. If we put our faith in our friends, would that work just as well? (Let kids respond.) No, that would be sort of like trying to plant our seed in a pot of yogurt or peanut butter. We have to plant our faith seed in good soil. Our faith must be planted and rooted in God. He will grow our faith for us. And then we can do all kinds of wonderful things through God’s power.

Prayer:  Lord, help us put our faith in you, and then make it grow and grow!


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