The giant redwoods of San Francisco’s Muir Woods started as tiny seeds. New York City’s Empire State Building began as an invisible thought. The Gospel message—which has gone into practically every square inch of the planet—originated in the pocket-sized nation of Israel. So, what’s the common denominator among these examples? Small beginnings.
We live in a world where small beginnings are definitely not celebrated. We want instant abs, drive-through everything, and overnight success. We want big, bold, and beautiful without the behind-the-scenes blood, sweat, and tears. But anyone who’s accomplished anything worth mentioning will tell you: Small is essential.
How to Have a Mustard Seed Faith
Honestly, it’s the same with our spiritual lives. When we decide to make a heart-change or seek to grow closer to God, results can feel a million miles away. Maybe you wanted to read through the whole Bible, but got lost in Leviticus. Maybe you attempted to pray every day, but couldn’t get past, “Dear God,” without dozing off. Maybe you wanted stronger faith, but doubt crept in instead. We begin to despise our little steps because the big victory, the freeing breakthrough, or the finish line always seems too far to reach. Maybe you can relate. But there’s big hope for us small starters.
Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32 NLT
Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens.” Mark 4:27 NLT
Mustard seeds are tiny but they can have a big impact. The same is true for you. God’s already started your story, and He’s not done yet. Your spiritual practices might be new, but they’re mustard seeds that God can grow. So don’t worry about the small beginnings, your mustard seed faith is all you need.
All of Us Have Small Beginnings
Everything in life starts small. People, trees, houses, relationships, and even faith. But when something—even a microscopic something—is loved, nurtured, and cultivated, that small beginning begins to grow exponentially. A garden is planted one inch of dirt at a time. A book is written one word at a time. A marathon is run one step at a time. And a relationship with God is deepened one day, one hour, and one moment at a time. We are carriers of Kingdom seeds, so we can’t be afraid to start small. We don’t always see the potential in our small beginnings, but God does.
Here’s the kicker. We can hustle, persevere, and try our hardest, but without God’s blessing, there’s only so much we can do. A little boy once offered his lunch—a few fish and some loaves of bread—but it was God who made it multiply. A desperate mother once sent her baby down the Nile in a basket to avoid a murderous Pharaoh—but it was God who protected him, granted him favor, and empowered him to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery. Nehemiah used the resources available to him to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem—but it was God who gave the workers strength and kept their enemies at bay. Likewise, we can offer what we have. We can do what little we can do. But it’s God who makes things grow and prosper.
Want to Grow Spiritually? Start With What You Have
So, what do you have in your hands? You have time to invest, talent to repurpose, and treasure to steward. Are you planting seeds by sowing God’s Word into your own heart? Are you building resilience by memorizing Scripture? Are you spreading this relentless love with at least one or two friends, neighbors, or family members who need Him? What seems small to you has limitless potential with God.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lᴏʀᴅ rejoices to see the work begin …” Zechariah 4:10 NLT
How do we experience growth? Well, redwoods stay planted in rich soil. Skyscrapers climb into the blue sky brick by brick. And the radical news of the cross travels by land and sea, from person to person—growing exponentially every day.