Taking Advantage of Mustard Seed Opportunities

“Dreams usually start out as mustard seed opportunities.” -Mark Batterson

I love this quote from Mark Batterson and recently used it in a team talk. In our discussion we emphasized the importance of recognizing opportunity and acting accordingly. The context of the mustard seed comes from Matthew 13:32: “It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” I held a jar of mustard seeds to give a visual of the acute smallness of the seeds. You see, in Jesus time in Israel, the Mustard Tree would really stick out in the barren desert land. The tree was considered one of the tallest pieces of vegetation and a magnificent sight. This visual was an easy analogy for the people of that time. A great way to emphasize how something so small could become something so great and beautiful.

This message brings up some important questions. How often are we just looking for the tree but fail to see the seeds of opportunity? And even if we see them, what is holding us back from going into action? I have recently been reading, The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell, and he shares some interesting findings in the excerpt below on human response to emergency.

In one experiment, for example, Latane and Darley had a student alone in a room stage an epileptic fit. When there was just one person next door, listening, that person rushed to the student’s aid 85 percent of the time. But when subjects thought that there were four others also overhearing the seizure, they came to the student’s aid only 31 percent of the time. In another experiment, people who saw smoke seeping out from under a doorway would report it 75 percent of the time when they were on their own, but the incident would be reported only 38 percent of the time when they were in a group. When people are in a group, in other words, responsibility for acting is diffused. They assume that someone else will make the call…

The Tipping Point/ Malcolm Galdwell

I cannot tell you how many times in my career that I have heard a coach say, “Someone has to step up and make a play!” On a football team we need 11 people responding on every play to be our best. As in Malcolm’s findings, on a team, players can often play timid and hesitant, waiting on someone else to step up in the moment. It is also like having the dream of a college scholarship without first accepting a seemingly minor role on the kickoff team. Great teams are born when uncommon people react to small opportunities. This could be blocking down on the defensive tackle, covering a punt, being the opponent’s QB on the scout team, or taking on the fullback at linebacker. Every player has a handful of opportunistic seeds that they have to recognize and act upon. Each individual has a role and a responsibility to each other. The more we handle the small things, the greater influence we have, the greater proof of reliability for the future. When we all react to smallness, then it stacks up for great accomplishment. I told our team, “If we all planted a seed on this field, in time we would have an orchard. We have a field of possibility ahead of us, if we will all accept our roles and answer the call. These studies are about commonality. What we are asking you to do is to be uncommon. Facing adversity, showing courage, self-sacrifice, responding to the call is uncommon. We cannot wait, and it will take everybody to respond to accomplish our dreams.

In life, we may think we are too small for the dream and that those big ideas are really just meant for someone more qualified than us. We can also indirectly let the fear of judgement or our personal perception keep us from acting. If I do this… then how will I be viewed? People may feel that the only way to control our identity is to protect it in non-action. That the moment we act in front of others, we lose control and become vulnerable and exposed to negativity. However, if we took that group out of our minds, then we would essentially be mentally alone and act accordingly. The battle of our thoughts is greater than the reality of other people. We have to zero out these thoughts and emotions, we cannot feel inferior and incapable. The bottom line is that it is not common for people to step up to opportunity. We too are not called to be common but to be uncommon. Each of us are born to be special.

So for me and you, what is it that keeps us from acting on our life goals? We too have a handful of seeds that we need to recognize and act upon. We too have to respond to the call of our God given opportunity and potential. It could be one email, text message, conversation, project, daily responsibility or just the first step on a walk. What is that one thing you have always wanted to do? It only takes one mustard seed to begin! We cannot wait, and it will take a consistent response to accomplish our dreams… In time, you too will stick out great and beautiful as an example to see and follow…

Time to step up and make a play…

Time to take one step toward your dreams…

Time to take advantage of the mustard seeds…

Remember… Greatness Is Born In Smallness

4 thoughts on “Taking Advantage of Mustard Seed Opportunities

  1. This is a powerful message in our day and age. We are called to lead , not to be idol or to be “herd followers”. We should intentionally pray for opportunities to step up and make a difference. In the praying for opportunities, we might also ask God, to help us always recognize those opportunities, and to respond in faith , courageously. Do it now!

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