Faith of a Mustard Seed…by the numbers

“He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 [ESV]

Okay, my wife can tell you that sometimes I enjoy a good math problem too much. I’ll be preaching from this portion of Matthew the same day I publish this article, so I just wondered what this passage would look like if the comparison were taken literally.

Let’s start with the basics: The smallest recognized mountain in the world, Mt. Wycheproof in Australia, is 141 ft high. We can guess that Jesus had a larger mountain in view, but for the sake of argument, let’s go with the smallest mountain we can find. Then we can consider a Mustard Seed, which according to wiki answers is about 1/16 of an inch, or .0625 inches. When you do the math, faith the size of a mustard seed can at least move a mountain 27,072 times larger than itself.

So let’s take things a bit further. Mountains are a whole lot bigger than people. So if the tiny mustard seed impacts something 27,072 times larger than it, how small could our figurative faith be if we wanted to impact the life of a person?

Starting with the largest recorded Human: Robert Wadlow, recognized as the tallest person in history was 8 feet, 11 inches tall. In just inches, he would have been 107 inches tall. So now, if we wanted to see how tiny our figurative faith could be to impact his life, we would divide the 107 inches by 27,072. The resulting size would be .00395 inches. According to http://www.metric-conversion.net , .0395 inches is equal to 100 micrometers. In reference to the human body, that is two average-sized human cells, or 50 micrometers a piece times two. So all we need is a faith that equals the size of two stacked cells to see a life impacted by our faith! That’s it!

There are 100 billion cells in a human brain: According to my web research,  our brains contain over 100 billion cells. Therefore, if we follow scripture and trust the Lord with all our minds like Matthew 22:37 teaches, we would have 100 billion cells that seek faith in the Lord. If we only need two cells to believe in faith, but we have 100 billion, suddenly we have increased the potential for our faith to impact the life of one person by 50 billion times. That means if we had every cell of our brain, loving Jesus with all of our mind, and therefore believing in faith that Jesus could save a soul, we would have the potential to impact 50 billion people. The Earth only has 7 billion people on the planet!

So where does this leave us? This is a literal point of view reached by playing out a figurative illustration from Jesus. What this is really telling us is that if our faith is not yielding any results, the logical question is, where is it?  It is that same question Jesus had for the disciples in this chapter of Matthew. If we took Jesus literally, than our faith would need to be just about non-existent for us not to impact the lives of the lost. With just the smallest bit of faith, we can reasonably expect to see souls saved in droves! My prayer is that the People of God would start putting some faith in His power to use us to change this world!

Written by Timothy Hegerich

There is truth in our world, and it lies within the word of the One who created the world.  It is my prayer that my thoughts and writings echo this truth and inspire you to seek it for your life today!

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