Good Shepherd Lutheran

Mustard Seed Faith – Luke 17:5-10
“If I just had more faith…” Most most of us have probably struggled with that thought at some point. If I just had more faith, I wouldn’t have so many questions or doubts. If I just had more faith, God would answer my prayers. If I just had more faith, that person wouldn’t have died. If I just had more faith, I’d go to church more often. If I just had more faith, I’d be a better person, a better parent, a better spouse. If I just had more faith, I’d know what to do; I’d handle things better. If I just had more faith, life would be different.
We’re not alone in that kind of thinking. Immediately after Jesus tells the disciples not to become stumbling blocks to others and to forgive someone as many times as they repent, the disciples suddenly seem completely overwhelmed. We understand that what Jesus is saying is tough. It’s a challenge to forgive without limit and live that way. And it’s also easy to understand that the disciples don’t feel up to the task. So, we can relate to their response to Jesus, asking him to increase their faith. In fact, that seems like a reasonable request. If a little is good, a lot must be better, and maybe it could solve our problem.
But asking to increase our faith shows that deep down we really believe that more faith is a panacea. At best that shows a misunderstanding about faith itself. At worst, it shows our own unfaithfulness. Jesus is really clear that faithfulness isn’t about size or quantity. “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed,” he says, “you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Faith isn’t handed to us in a package to be doled out in our dealings with God. Faith is a relationship. It’s a relationship of trust and love with Jesus Christ, and that faith relationship determines who we are and how we live.
Faith doesn’t change our circumstances, but it can change us. Living in faith doesn’t shield us from pain and difficulties. It doesn’t undo the past, and it won’t guarantee an outcome. But faith does change how we face and deal with the circumstances of life, both good and bad.
For that to happen, though, faith needs to be practiced every day in every circumstance. When we feel the pain of the world and respond by feeding the hungry. When we experience the brokenness of a relationship and offer forgiveness and mercy. When we see the downtrodden and offer our presence and prayers. When we do that, that’s when we live, see, and act by faith. That’s true faithfulness.
The thing is, we already have enough faith to live the life Jesus wants for us. Increase our faith? Nope. We only need that mustard seed.