Matthew 13:31-32, 14:29-31, 17:6,20 | Mark 9:22-24 

Your job is to step out.

You may have heard that you need to have faith like a mustard seed to move a mountain. You may have also heard that a mustard seed is a tiny little thing. What does this mean?

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Matthew 13:31-32 NLT

Though it is a tiny little seed, it grows more than others. Maybe that’s also what happens to your faith when you exercise it?

Jesus told his disciples that it didn’t take great faith to do something great, like moving a tree…

The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you!”

Luke 17:6 NLT

…or even a mountain.

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

Matthew 17:20 NLT

They just needed faith as small as a mustard seed. Wait–what? How do you measure the size of faith?

And what if you have doubts? Aren’t faith and doubt opposites?

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

Matthew 14:29-31 NLT

Faith and doubt do work against each other. But that doesn’t mean you have to couple perfect faith with an absolute absence of doubt for God to answer your prayer. After all, Peter did walk on water for a moment there.

Apparently, having doubts does not automatically disqualify someone from having sufficient faith to receive a miracle.

“But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

Mark 9:22b-24

Jesus healed the man’s son, even though he did have his doubts.

So how much faith do you need? Let’s just say: a little goes a long way. And it’s okay if you have doubts. Because it’s not you who does miracles. It’s God. Your job is to step out of the boat and follow Jesus.

Questions for Group Discussion

  • Will God give you absolutely anything you ask for just because you believe he will? Why not? If he did, wouldn’t that be like Him serving you, instead of the other way around?
  • How can you have faith if you don’t know for certain that God will answer your prayer the way you are hoping? Does it make a difference that God’s way is higher than yours?
  • How much is asking God for something like asking a parent? How is it different?
  • How can you know that God is hearing your prayers when nothing seems to happen? How can you know that God exists under the same circumstances? Does your belief in God hinge on how he answers your prayers? 

Challenge: Grow It!

Sometimes it’s better to take someone else’s word… Sometimes you have to experience it for yourself. 

Your challenge: grow a mustard plant from seeds. A little bit of research will reveal that they should be planted a few weeks before the last freeze of the season–OR that you should use a biggish pot and plant the thing indoors by a window that gets plenty of sun.


  • You may need to ask a few questions at the garden store, etc. about the best way to care for the seeds.
  • Many people grow mustard for the greens, but to get the full effect of this challenge you will need to let yours flower and go to seed.
  • Depending on the variety and other factors (size of pot, amount of sunlight, water, etc.) a healthy mustard plant can get over 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall.
  • Don’t geek out over which variety of mustard seed to buy…just get what is easy.

Once you have grown your mustard seeds, what do you think about the analogy? Do the scriptural references take on new meaning?