New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
7 “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 8 Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”
Have you ever looked around you and seen people who clearly have more faith than you? You know, those people who just radiate peace and that all knowing look of “No worries, God’s got this!” We have all been a witness to our friends or family who have handled a significant health crisis who made it seem easy and reported all the miracles God had worked in their lives along with the way? Their faith waves in my face as if to mock me and make me sometimes say, “If only my faith was as big as hers!” If only….
So reading this passage not only brings me back to the question of how much faith is enough faith, but also makes me feel a bit bad about the obvious jealousy which can be my default. The last line of this passage really spoke to me today, and I read it as faith enough is all the faith I need to do what I know to do as a follower of Christ. This was a good wrap up to this reading, as the first line was a hook that made me want to read more….as if there is a recipe to follow or a heavenly flowchart of “if this, then that” steps to get me to enough. It’s also a pretty passive statement, as if Jesus’ job was to do faith TO us.
So first, I say that it is no one’s job to deepen my faith….no one but me. I can’t complain that the sermon isn’t reaching me, the Bible was too far from my reach, the poor live too far away for me to really reach out to them or that it’s inconvenient to spend time in study, piety and action as a Christian. I have been a passive person of faith for too long – and I have no one to blame it on. All I can do now is re-commit every day to living a life of faith, a deep commitment to following God’s will. I think of it like a carrot growing in the garden vs a bush with a crazy root ball; the carrot doesn’t spread out and get all tangled up as it grows. It is singularly focused in its genetic make up. I want my faith to be my genetic makeup too, keeping me from all distractions that put a roadblock between me and God’s plan for me.
The second lesson for me from this reading is that the faith I have is enough faith for me. If I follow my walk with Christ and believe his word, then I have enough faith. It’s what I am supposed to do. I have found in the trials and tribulations of life that the faith I have is enough when I need it and under whatever circumstances. And here is another note about that…we must (ok, I must!) stop comparing our faith to others. When we see those giants of faith cross our paths, remember that each of those “giants” has the same insecurities that we all do. And who knows what doubts they wrestle with too? My faith must be my very own. I must cultivate my relationship with Christ and my faith will be enough.
God of grace, I draw near to you. May my faith in you and your love and mercy be a comfort to me in time of trouble and a gift in abundance as you bless me. I pray my faith will continue to be enough. In your name I pray. AMEN.