(Show the children a small pebble.) If I plant this in the ground, what will happen? You’re right. It will lie there in the soil forever, unless some person or animal or earthquake moves it.
(Now show the children the mustard seed pocket piece. Ask one of the children to read the words on it.) If I plant this seed in the ground, what will happen? You’re right. It will sprout and grow to become quite a large bush.
What makes the difference? Why will the seed grow into a plant, but not the pebble? (Lead the children to see that our Creator-God has put life into the seed. That power, the power of life, comes only from God.)
Getting To the Heart
One day, Jesus’ disciples tried to help a father whose little boy was very sick. The disciples tried and tried, but nothing happened. Soon, Jesus himself came. He healed the sick boy right away; the boy and his dad went home, safe and happy. (See Matthew 17:14-20.)
Later, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Why couldn’t we help this family?”
Jesus replied, “You don’t have enough faith.” Then he added this promise: “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20).
Sometimes we have huge problems, problems that look as big as mountains! That’s the kind of problem the dad and his little boy had. Like the disciples, we try and try on our own to solve our problems or the problems of other people whom we want to help. Sometimes we even try and try to believe the problems away, as if we can make our own faith grow big enough to fix the problem. That’s a little like planting a pebble in the garden and wishing and hoping and trying to make it grow. Our wishing and hoping and believing won’t make a pebble grow—no matter how much we wish and hope and try! Our trying won’t make our faith grow either.
But when we bring our problems to Jesus and remember his promises to us, even mountain-size problems aren’t too big. God’s promises have power, just like this tiny mustard seed has power—God’s power. Faith in God’s promises works because God’s promises are always true.
Who can think of some promises God has made to us, promises that can help us, no matter how huge our problems seem? (Let the children name some promises like those below. Let them also tell one another about a time when these promises would help with problems, big or little.)
- Matthew 28:20—[Jesus said,] “I am with you always.”
- Psalm 46:1— God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
- James 1:5— If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
- Isaiah 41:10—[God says,] “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
- Isaiah 65:24—[God says,] “I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!”
- John 11:25-26—[Jesus said,] “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.”
- 1 John 1:9— if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Taking It Home
God has made wonderful promises to us! We can trust those promises! Even when our faith is as tiny as this mustard seed, God’s promises to us are true in Jesus. He will make our faith grow stronger as we keep studying his Word. No matter how big our problems are, he will help us. We can trust him to do what he says.
You can take this pocket piece home to help you remember God’s love for you and the power of the promises he has made to you! I’m giving you each an extra pocket piece to share with a friend, too. As you do that, tell your friend about God’s love and care for us in Jesus!
Editor’s note: Would you like a unique reminder of God’s love elementary and middle school students can share with classmates? Consider purchasing Mustard Seed Pocket coins for your students.
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Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.