March 21 | Matthew 17:14-21
by Mary Kate Hipp
Israel is not the greenest of countries. In fact, if you visit anytime in the summer to late fall, you'd think the color green does not exist there. See, there are two seasons: dry (which lasts 6-8 months) and wet (which normally lasts around 4-5 months). In the dry season, it will not rain, even a lick. The land relies on a few months of rain to sustain it for the rest of the year. During the dry season, there are some areas of Israel that you would never guess could grow any vegetation. Even in the wet season, the vegetation is sparse! So for Jesus to be telling this story about a mustard seed, something that will not bloom until mid-march and then die shortly after, seems a little silly, right? Well, when these mustard seeds grow, they grow everywhere, being the weeds they are. They grow near and far. They cover all of hills and valleys; they grow in cracks of rocks; they fill the fields and orchards; mustard seeds are everywhere. Not only is it impressive that these mustard plants grow rampantly in such a dry country, but they grow from seeds as big as a speck.
I believe this is exactly what Jesus was getting at. Faith, even as small and minuscule as a mustard seed, can grow wildly and rampantly. It can fill fields, valleys, hills, and every crack, and crevice. These little weeds are difficult to pick. These seeds are rooted deep and firm. From faith ever so small, with the power of the Holy Spirit, mountains can be moved, people can be healed, the oppressed can be free; miracles can happen. And this faith can grow like that of the mustard seeds filling the countryside of Israel.
As you go throughout this spring season, take note of the weeds and how they boom and bloom, like the mustard plant. Though most gardeners I know view weeds as the bane of their existence, let the sight of the weeds spur on your faith this spring season. May your faith be so firmly planted in the goodness of God and may it grow and spread like the mustard seed.