Consider the mustard seed. Though mentioned only a handful of times in the Bible, this seed has become for many the definitive symbol for the mystery of faith. When studying the references Jesus made to this tiny wonder, students in our sixth grade reading class discussed two conditional statements: “because of” and “even though”. “Because of” leads to logical conclusions, things that are expected in life. We live in a world where we associate input directly with output so we make “because of” statements like: “You get what you pay for”, “no pain, no gain” and “what comes around, goes around”. We live by these truisms and for the most part they’re pretty easy to swallow. It’s when “even though” shows up that we struggle and choke a little. “Even though” represents the things in life we don’t expect, the ironies (painful and pleasant) that make us look to heaven for some explanation. Mustard is ironic. Who is anticipating that these sprinkle-sized seeds will sprout into monsters that will quickly overtake the other winter crops. (The cabbages have a two month head start but don’t stand a chance.) Mustard is definitely an “even though” crop. By referring to a mustard seed when discussing faith it could be that Jesus was pointing to faith’s irony. It’s value, by weight, is worth a lot more than the disciples expected and it can accomplish much more than we anticipate. When mountains are moved “because of” our muscular efforts, the sweat of our brow will be measured in oceans, but when mountains are moved “even though” we have nothing but trowels our faith will be measured in mustard seeds.