One Tiny Mustard Seed

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
You might ask, “What kind of mustard seed?” because there are many kinds of mustard. Maybe you put bright-yellow mustard on your hot dog today. Or maybe you live in a land where you’ve never tasted hot dogs, and maybe you never saw mustard. You boys and girls who read this story live in all parts of the world, but God has a message for you today no matter where you live.
I have a wildflower book that lists six kinds of mustard, but I don’t think the one Jesus told us about is one of those in my book. However, I can understand His story, and you see if you can understand it too.
Jesus said that a man took one tiny mustard seed and planted it in his garden. The man must have been a good gardener, because the seed sprouted and grew, and grew, and grew some more. In fact, it grew into a tree! It must have been a really big tree, because birds came and made nests in its branches.
The Bible does not tell us anything more about that mustard tree, perhaps because God wants you to think about that tree just as it is.
When Jesus told that story, He was on His way toward Jerusalem, and He knew very well that He would be crucified there. Why didn’t He go somewhere and hide? I’ll tell you why. It was because He loved sinners like you and me, and He came into the world on purpose to save us. The only way He could do this was by taking our place and dying for us. He loved sinners so much that He did not hide from suffering and death. “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Isn’t that enough to make you love Him forever?
Now, do you boys and girls know what a refuge is? Maybe you’ve heard of a wildlife refuge, which is a place where animals and birds can live and be protected.
I’m sure that big mustard tree was a good, leafy refuge for birds and their nests and babies, but it’s not a good place of protection for you. The tree was so big that everybody could see it. It’s like a big building where people go to say prayers, but even a building like that is not a refuge for you.
You and I need a refuge because we are sinners. Is there no place where we can hide from the wrath of God that we deserve for our sins? Yes, there is a Saviour, and only One: “[The Lord] is my Rock and my Salvation.  ...  The Rock of my strength, and my Refuge, is in God” (Psalm 62:6-76He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. 7In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. (Psalm 62:6‑7)).
I have seen a tree blown down in a storm, but the great Rock stands firm. This Rock is the Lord Jesus Himself. “A Man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a [cover] from the [wild storm]” (Isaiah 32:22And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. (Isaiah 32:2)). The full fury of the storm, which is God’s wrath against sin, strikes the Rock, but He is my refuge.
Now think about the story Jesus told. There was a gardener and a garden and a seed that sprouted and grew bigger and bigger. Religion has grown just like that — bigger and bigger, but there is no refuge in religion. Religion cannot save you from your sins. Only Christ Himself can do that, because He died for them. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:3131And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31)).
Have you come to the Lord Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man [comes] unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:66Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6))? There is no refuge from the punishment for your sins except in Jesus. The huge tree of religion can’t do it!
Think About God’s Word!
1. What happened after the tiny mustard seed was planted?
2. What does it mean that religion isn’t a refuge but the Man Christ Jesus is?
Project: Even loving parents (and many children don’t have them) can’t keep their children from all dangers. What verses can you give that show how much the Lord cares about His children and is able to protect them?