The mustard seed principle


I wish I had known this 45 years ago – and practiced it.

The mustard seed principal: Praying, “Father, just give me one more mustard seed.” You know, those seeds – the smallest of garden seeds – that grow to become big trees where many birds can nest—those ones.

Matthew 13:31-32“He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man planted in his field. Although it is the smallest of all seeds, yet it grows into the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

Plant it, and only after you plant it should you ask for one more. Very, very few people I know can handle more than one at a time—pastors, reverends, missionaries, church leaders, and Christians in general. You can take my word for it.

For years, I dreamed great dreams, setting BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)—God-size goals. I destroyed my health, put a lot of strain on my family, bedevilled many relationships, and opened myself up to all kinds of spiritual temptations. I lived with constant failure and disappointment.

For the past three years, I have been praying this prayer. In the past ten months, I saw more solid fruit in my ministry than ever before—without the strain and constant disappointments.

Even taking care of one seed is a stretch. One seed is a huge responsibility—with 100 seeds, we tend to be careless. “Even” planting one seed in a lifetime and nurturing it until it becomes a big tree will make a massive difference in the world.

God may entrust you with one seed at a time, a dozen, or any number. Master the art of handling one, and perhaps you’ll find yourself capable of managing two. Remember, asking for one doesn’t impede the process of reaching the world, guiding people in their faith, leading them into instruments of holiness, and fostering disciples who will glorify the Lord in their every endeavour.

And when or how God will give me the next seed is not for me to decide. It takes away the stress, the striving, the human passion. He will provide you with one more when you are ready for one more.

Yes, dream big if you want to. That is fine. But ask for one seed. It will set you free from a multitude of troubles and sins. Personally, it set me free from fleshly striving, growing mý ministry, protecting me from spiritual greed, set me free from mý desire to look good and to compare favourably with what others are doing.

Recently, God gave me 12 seeds in one day. But that was His decision, not mine.

Ask for one more soul to be saved (especially if you are an evangelist – this will help you see individuals’ faces again – not numbers). If you are a church planter – ask for one more church. If you want to see millions interceding, ask God for one more person to join you in prayer. If you have 250 church members and 350 seats available in your church – ask yourself what you are really doing with the 250. And then ask for one more person to be saved, brought into fellowship, to be discipled and trained – make them disciple-makers and send them into the world to do what you have done with them. And please don’t steal sheep – go for new converts. If you are only trying to get more people into your church and hoarding people, do not teach them that.

Not many will accept this. Many will think it is a lazy approach. “We must go out and dó something!”

I simply share what I discovered—even if it is just for myself—but I can assure you that this will deliver you from much self-effort, failure, and disappointment and lead to a vastly more fruitful ministry.

About the author

Bennie Mostert
By Bennie Mostert