– J.C. Ryle
It Is Buried
A seed has to be buried and basically die before it can grow, even a mustard seed. Though it is one of the smallest of seeds, it grows large enough for the birds to rest in it. Paul wrote, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4) and “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). Like the seed, we have to die to ourselves! Easy to say but oh so hard to do!
It Is Watered
Nothing can live without moisture, and the mustard seed is no exception. We too need this living water, and we know Who the source is. “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water‘” (John 7:37-38). You cannot survive without this living water, nor can a mustard seed sprout in the ground without it. What makes a wilderness barren is its lack of water. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6).
It Is Nourished
What causes growth next to water? It must be nourished. Isaiah asked, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare” (Isaiah 55:2). To survive, we all need our daily bread. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:48), “for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9). Nothing else satisfies like Jesus and the Word of God.
It Is Growing
We are commanded to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18), and you cannot grow without the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus reminds us that “whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Branches that do not abide in the vine and grow “are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned” (John 15:6b).
A tiny mustard seed can grow into a big enough tree to provide food and shelter for the birds and even shade from the sun, but it first must be buried and die to itself; it must be watered with that “living water”; it must be nourished by God’s Word; and it must grow by remaining in the vine. So even when our faith is small, the Lord is ready to help us, and I certainly need all the help I can get. What about you?