August 31, 2009
Birds in My Mustard Tree
"He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.'" Matthew 17:20 (AMP)
What are birds in a mustard tree? Let me see if I can explain.
My pomegranate bush resembles a Christmas tree decorated by the hand of God. Its branches hang heavy with crimson bulbs of fruit. It sways in the wind and I catch a whiff of the overripe fruit. Various sparrows and robins sit on the branches like "twelve partridges in a pear tree." I hear the high-pitched music of finches and hummingbirds beyond the lush fruit, deep within the branches. The birds on the outer limbs dance while the hidden birds sing a bird medley.
To me this pomegranate bush reflects in the physical world what happens in the spiritual world of faith. Our faith may be small and sometimes hidden, but it can make our souls sing. We find Jesus speaking about faith in our key verse, "He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you'" Matthew 17:20 (AMP). He taught that even small faith could move a mountain.
But what are birds in a mustard tree? It's my phrase for recognizing God's response to my smallest faith and most doubt-filled prayers. The birds in my mustard tree are proof to me that God works as long as I have the tiniest bit of faith in His almighty power.
Author David Jeremiah wrote in My Heart's Desire:
"You may sometimes feel awkward and uncomfortable, and find yourself saying, 'Is this really true? I don't see anything in it. I don't hear God's voice. I don't feel His presence.' There are days like that for all of us. The pursuit of God has no shortcuts. You simply must keep walking, keep seeking, and keep yearning. Keep at it, and you won't be disappointed."
One example of mustard seed faith comes to mind as I think back to when my two sons were little boys. I began to pray for their future wives. So, I made a "shopping list" of prayers for daughters-in-law. My list included: godly, kind, sense of humor, good cooks, and fun families. Those prayers have been answered completely. I consider my "daughters-in-love" to be two of the most evident birds to result from my faith.
What would you list as evidences of your faith?
If we combined our lists, we would be amazed at the variety of "birds" we would see. In the days and years ahead, we will see many more birds come to roost in our mustard trees of faith.
Even if my faith is as tiny as a mustard seed, God can bring about miraculous results. He can grow my faith so large that it can host a multitude of His wonderful deeds. I call these the "birds in my mustard tree."
Dear Lord, show me the variety of truths about faith. I ask today for You to reveal to me the unseen aspects of my faith. Grant me the knowledge, wisdom, and revelation to perceive the birds that rest in my mustard tree of faith. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Join us for more Everyday Life encouragement
Birds in My Mustard Tree by Susanne Scheppmann
Fresh Grounded Faith: Devotions to Awaken Your Spirit by Jennifer Rothschild
What actions can I take in response to this message?
Do I consider my faith to be weak or strong or somewhere in between?
What would I declare as the fruit of my faith—the birds in my mustard tree?
Hebrews 11:6, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (NIV)
Romans 10:17, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (NIV)
Acts 3:16, "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see." (NIV)
© 2009 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 31 August 2009.