“Dad, where does mustard come from?”
I chuckled at my younger son’s question, coming after Sunday school last weekend. “So let me guess. Did you talk about the parable of the mustard seed in class?”
My son acknowledged it and then asked the something else. “So what’s the mustard seed about?”
“Well,” I said, feeling a teaching moment, “the mustard seed is small. However, after you plant it, it grows into a huge plant. It means with a little faith, you can do big things. Jesus once said that if you have the faith the size of a mustard seed you could move a mountain.”
He tilted his head. “Well, if you get a big plant do you get a lot more seeds?”
I mulled it over. It made sense. “I think so. We can look it up when we get home?”
“Okay. What’s for lunch?”
“How about hot dogs?”
He nodded with a grin. “Can I have mustard on them?” “Sure,” I said and it was my turn to smile. My boys love a lot of different foods, but neither of them has ever put mustard on anything. They eat their hot dogs with chili and their hamburgers with ketchup. I’ve always wondered why they didn’t like mustard. As a kid, I loved the basic kind of mustard. I used to mix it with ketchup, calling it “muschup,” and put it on French fries. As an adult, I grew to enjoy more traditional, spicy types. Still, up until that morning, both my kids avoided it and nothing I could do would change their mind. If a parable was enough to make one of them try it, I would forever think “The Lord does work in mysterious ways.”
When lunchtime arrived, I quickly prepared hot dogs for both my kids. We squirted some mustard on my younger son’s plate so he could dip the dogs into it. He took one taste.
His face told the story. I hoped I was wrong. “Do you like it?”
He shook his head and I sighed. He’d tried it. No go. He did finish his hot dogs. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t give it a second taste.
I thought it was over until he asked. “Dad, did people in the Bible eat mustard?”
“Probably.” He nodded again and I said nothing more. It wasn’t the time to push it. I knew the seed had been planted for another day.
A good friend of ours, Noriko Okubo, has co-founded a charity that targets helping children hurt by the devastating events in Japan. If you have a moment, please click here to be taken to that website. Thank you.