Big Picture

The Parables of Jesus: The Parable of the Mustard Seed | Sunday School Solutions

Apr 13, 2023 | Sunday School Solutions

by Emily Hechler

Children may be told by their parents or teachers that they can change the world! But the saved children in your Sunday school class may be wondering how they can do that. They may believe their small acts of obedience to God will never be noticed and will never make any difference. They may think they’ll have to wait until they’re older before they can start making disciples and doing big things for the Kingdom of God. Not only that, but the children may be getting the idea that the adults in their church don’t think they are qualified to serve in church yet. Children need to know God notices them and can use them, even though they’re young, to contribute to His Kingdom. You can teach them this through the parable of the mustard seed.

First, show your class some mustard seeds. Ask them how big they think the plant will get after the seed is planted. A small plant would come from a tiny seed, right?

Then, read the parable of the mustard seed out loud to your class: “He put another parable before them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 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’” (Matthew 13:31-32).


Children need to know God notices them and can use them, even though they’re young, to contribute to His Kingdom.

That might just seem like a nice, short story, but it has significant meaning.

When Jesus first started His earthly ministry of telling others about God, He had no followers. He called one or two followers at a time until He had 12 disciples. They became Jesus’ closest friends. They tried to travel with Jesus everywhere He went. After Jesus’ ascension, they began telling other people that He was the Son of God. As a result of their diligence, many people heard the Gospel.

There are many stories in the Bible describing the way the disciples told other people about Jesus and how He died on the cross and came back to life to rescue us from our sins. After He went to heaven, the disciples continued to preach about Him and even performed miracles like the ones Jesus did since they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Some of the disciples wrote books in the Bible that we still read today.

Explain to children that the Kingdom of God is made of people who are saved and have a relationship with God. Only God knows who is in His Kingdom. The Kingdom started out with a small group of people, but over time, more people put their faith in Jesus and joined His kingdom.

This is why Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed. The mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds. It is so small that it appears insignificant.

God can use those tiny acts of obedience and make their effects grow

The saved children in your church might think of themselves as small and unimportant, but God created everyone and knows their names. He values each one of us! Though we might think we are insignificant, God has given us great purpose.

The work that children do for Jesus might seem small to us. It might be so small that we don’t pay attention to it. However, God can use those tiny acts of obedience and make their effects grow. More and more will come to accept Jesus because of their Kingdom work.

The Story of Madugu is a great example of how one child’s decision to obey God made an impact on his community. You can show this animated video to your Sunday school class on the U-Nite TV® app or website.

What is most amazing about the mustard seed is how big it can grow. It grows into a large garden plant when it is mature. Similarly, the kids in your Sunday school might think that they are too small to make an impact, but their obedience to God could have an amazing impact in His Kingdom.

Encourage the children in your class by letting them know they are seen by God. He loves them and knows they can do great things in the Kingdom, even when they think their work is small. Also, let this parable be an encouragement to the adults in your church to let the children serve. They may be tiny like the mustard seed, but God can use them to grow His Kingdom.­­­­