September/October 2022

The Mustard Seed

By Grace Claire Przywara

Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain,
‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Matthew 17:20

Empty hands are all I have. The nothing’s all You need:
in the valley of my palm, You place a mustard seed.

My skin’s no soil with room for roots—all I’ll do is impede.
You smile as if my doubt is cute, like darling mustard seeds.

Then what am I to do with it, this barren, blackened bead?
You seem to see a use for it, this little mustard seed.

You hung the sky, filled the sea—from Your word the world proceeds.
There’s nothing You’d ever need from me, and yet, You want this seed?

I realize now that both are true—while You can do any deed,
There’s one mere thing that I can do: return the mustard seed.

Please finish what You’ve started and I’ll follow where You lead.
Take and tend my small attempt at faith: my mustard seed.

The prompt of Proverbs 1:8-9 made me pause at first: as a nearly-thirty-year-old woman, I don’t do much direct obeying of my parents anymore, as much as I love them. But then I realized that, as a parent now, I am the mother in the proverb. And, of course, I still try to obey my Heavenly Father who still has daily instructions for me. These are the threads that led me to the poem of “The Mustard Seed”. In this poem, I obey the request of the Father for the smallest amount of faith imaginable (which I still question and often fail).

About the Author

Grace Claire Przywara received an English degree from the University of South Carolina. Her poetry has appeared in Ekstasis Magazine, Agape Review, Rise Up Review and is forthcoming in Amethyst Review. Her work has also placed multiple years in contests hosted by human rights organization Rehumanize International. Grace currently lives in Aiken, South Carolina with her husband and two sons. You can discover more of her work at