|That's a mustard seed in the palm of my hand. |
The dot right in the middle. Live long and prosper.
|It sprouts! 5 days after planting.|
|About 4-5 weeks old.|
In the middle of May, I took the gangly, overgrown plant and pulled it out of its small clay pot. It was not a gentle removal by any means. There is just no way to remove an impacted root-dirt bundle from
|Transplanted to the small clay pot. New spot to grow.|
Often I just stand and look at the mustard plant on my balcony and think of Jesus' words to the disciples after they asked him why they were unable to drive out a particularly nasty demon: He replied, "Because your faith is much too small. What I'm about to tell you is true. If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, it is enough. You can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there.' And it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17, NIV).
In light of these puzzling words, here are a few observations I have made in my experience with a mustard seed/plant which seem to have something in common with faith.
1. It is embarrassingly small to begin with. Really, one can hardly see it. But smallness has very little to do with its potential and ability to grow.
2. I cannot make a seed (faith) grow, but I do have to feed it, protect it, tend it, and care for it. I cannot neglect it or it will die.
|After being transplanted outside, 4 months old.|
4. The seed (faith) is pretty hardy. Though I might forget about it for a few days and conditions might not always be the best, it still keeps growing. A few setbacks will not kill it.
5. Room to grow (change) is necessary. Though transplanting can be hard on the wee plant, it will become unhealthy if left in the small, safe environment in which it sprouted. Every time the plant (faith) is provided with a new, bigger place to grow, it expands, it gains extra nutrients, its roots can stretch out and provide a firmer base, and it becomes stronger.
6. A new environment impacts the plant's (faith's) growth. Stress can cause the old leaves (familiar ways) to wither away, but if the roots are in good shape, new leaves will spring up to take their place. Regeneration and regrowth are part of a normal growth process. Prune the old, dying leaves to provide more room for new growth.
7. What is above ground (leaves) reflects how well the seed (faith) is doing below ground. Dry leaf edges, yellow leaves, holes in the leaves, and wilting leaves all reflect that there is a problem. If one does not pay attention to these problems when they first arise, the plant (faith) will end up in serious trouble.
8. Rain, not sun, is what causes the plant (faith) to have a growth spurt.
9. Growing a plant (faith) has less to do with sheer willpower and stamina and more to do with wonder and loving tenderness.
Perhaps you have a few observations of your own. Feel free to share them.