Episode 089 – Parable of the Mustard Seed: God Is At Work

Despite what we may think, many people didn’t believe Jesus’s ministry was all that impressive. In fact, they questioned whether or not God’s kingdom was really advancing through him. In response, Jesus told a parable about a mustard seed. Even though it’s incredibly small, its capacity for growth is massive. Jesus challenged his audience to recognize that even though things may not be unfolding the way we think, that doesn’t mean God isn’t at work. Quite the opposite. And what may appear to be small and seemingly insignificant may be germinating into something substantial.

Discussion Questions

  • What was your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • Why do you think people were questioning whether or not the kingdom was really advancing through the ministry of Jesus?
  • In what ways does it feel like that God’s kingdom isn’t advancing here on earth (or perhaps through your life)?
  • What activities are you currently involved in that feel small and seemingly insignificant? How do the truths of this teaching encourage you or challenge you to think differently about those things?
  • Where may God be challenging you to have a “mustard seed” like faith?
  • How will you begin living out the truths of this teaching this week?

For Further Study

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  1. Doug November 5, 2019 at 7:44 am - Reply

    Thank you for the helpful comparison among the gospel versions … and the striking contrast between the seed and the tree. The potent comparison and contrast deepened my understanding of what God is doing now.

  2. Bill Black November 5, 2019 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Dear Brad,
    The scientific educated persons who brought the first Japnese beetles, African bees, and non indegidous plants, promised as you did, yet here we are.
    Later in life when you move others might not be as careful as you about the jars of sand/dirt and they break or someone sees just dirt and dumps them!
    Now what is hiding in the dirt that could wreck agriculture or animals here in America? Is your passion gonna potentionaly destroy parts of America. You know that Purple weed growing all over Holland, Mi. taking over natural indegious plants where here in Michigan a bug has to be brought in to eat the panlts to control its growth?
    Sand and dirt from other countries need to be cooked to kill living things that can only be seen by microscopes.
    Perhaps one needs to look into this further.
    Enjoy your revelations.

  3. Cindy Lance November 5, 2019 at 9:17 am - Reply

    Good morning, Brad. This parable about the mustard seed in modern day life is so evident by the story of Nathaniel Kuck, a special needs child whose life has impacted God’s Kingdom like wildfire! Nathaniel’s Hope was founded with God’s purpose for Nathaniel’s short sweet life to have an impact on others and has and is growing internationally offering God’s love, hope, encouragement and compassion to those in need.
    Nathaniel’s Story

  4. Sue November 5, 2019 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Loved you teaching today. Bless God. Sometimes I feel small and not doing anything important for the kingdom and your words brought tears to my eyes.

  5. wesley campbell November 6, 2019 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    My Friend, you and your ministry are, truly, a Blessing! Thank you so much…!

  6. Sheila schippers November 7, 2019 at 11:00 pm - Reply

    Thank you Brad. Interesting and helpful insights and encouragement again. I loved telling this parable in children’s worship it was in a gold box like all the parables to differentiate it as a different type of story. We rolled out string that was very long to show big it grew. Then each had at least one little bird to put in the branches of the felt tree i had unrolled. That part became so meaningful to me as we all perched in the kingdom together.

  7. Ron Johnson November 9, 2019 at 9:02 am - Reply

    Brad, thank you for your faithfulness in sharing God’s Word in its context and the implications for how we live life today. I used this episode just an hour ago as my wife left to go participate on a panel of moms who had home schooled their kids, hopefully to encourage other parents who are currently in the throes of home schooling. She felt unworthy to share anything of value simply because she was more “loosey-goosey” and unstructured than other home-school moms and also because she reached a point where she was “over it” with our son. She continued to teach our daughters, but we enrolled him in school. I was able to use God’s Word through this teaching to encourage her, reminding her of how God has worked beautifully in each of our children’s lives and how He is using what she did years ago, at the time seemingly insignificant, to grow into something absolutely beautiful. What a great reminder of our amazing Heavenly Father Who is always at work in the garden of our souls.

    • Brad Gray January 16, 2020 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      Oh that is so great to hear, Ron. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Cathy Strube August 16, 2022 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Brad thank you again for your teaching. I attended Central Wesleyan when you were preaching there and have followed you since you left. I moved to Texas four years ago to be with my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren. We just moved again since my son has gotten a job he’s been waiting to have. At this point we are living in the new town and I have been here for a month. I am trying to get a job and I’m not seeing any success. I am helping take care of the grand children but they don’t need me as a prime caregiver. I’m trying to remain faithful spending time with God and being aware of those around me and situations around me that he may have set up for me to share with others about him. Thank you again for this teaching and the encouragement it has given me. Thank you also for explaining the differences in the parables. I have another son who is questioning the supposed differences in Scripture that seem to prove that it is not the word of God because of the unexplainable differences.

    • Brad Gray August 22, 2022 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      We appreciate you sharing this, Cathy. Thank you. Our prayers are with you in getting a job and in knowing how to navigate well the conversations with your son. This is a great 3-part series by Tim Mackie (BibleProject) on The Making of the Bible and why there are differences, and that we should expect there to be. It’s outstanding! https://bibleproject.com/podcast/series/making-of-the-bible/

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