One of the things that I truly enjoy in this calling as your pastor is the ability to sit down and get to know you. I learn of those activities and passions that keep you moving throughout the week. As I have the opportunity to sit down and talk with many of our families, I am amazed at the number of activities that keep them moving throughout the week.
In the midst of this comes struggles that are at times unexpected and at other times brought on by our own doing. We are always looking for the next best thing to give us a leg up. We want to be more efficient. We want to be able to do everything quicker so that we can move on to the next task on our list. We want to be able to say that we are successful and have accomplished something for the day. In the midst of it all we strive for more and more so that we can get by. The truth is that we have already been given everything we need. We have enough!
Don’t think you are the first one to be bombarded with activities. Jesus’ disciples felt the crunch around them as well. They don’t think that they have enough to help them accomplish everything in front of them. In our lesson this morning, they are asking Jesus to increase their faith. They are overwhelmed by this whirlwind tour Jesus has invited them on. Not only are the expectations Jesus sets out shocking to them at times, they are also left trying to figure out what he is saying in his many parables. Jesus has asked them to give away all of their possessions. He has told them countless times that they are going to have to take up their own cross. Jesus has instructed them to forgive the people who have wronged them.
Jesus is all about forgiving. It is his instructions to the disciples to forgive those who have sinned against them that finally provoked the request in this mornings lesson (17:1-4). Surely having more faith will help see them through everything that Jesus has called them to. In their own anxiety, they are feeling inadequate for the job at hand and if Jesus would simply increase their faith, their anxiety could be put at ease. The thing is, they already have faith enough to do those things they ought to do.
Their hope of increased faith is not going to get them anywhere faster. The faith that they have within them is already enough. Their faith is enough for the present moment and will see them through their calling. The faith of the people in Luke’s Gospel that Jesus encounters and heals is an example for us. Their faith is just enough and they trust in this. This faith may be found in the most unexpected places and people. The centurion who has enough faith that his servant will be healed, and Jesus does so from a distance (7:9). The woman, a sinner living in the city, who anointed Jesus’ feet with her tears and ointment is saved by her faith in the Son of God (7:50). The woman who had to reach out and just touch the fringe of Jesus’ robe was healed from her twelve years of bleeding (8:48). And Jesus will continue in his healing as he encounters people with faith that is perhaps just the size of a mustard seed.
It is not a question of if the disciples have faith. For what they have already is enough. It was their faith that got them to drop everything they were doing and follow Jesus. It was their faith that pushed them to stay with him throughout all of the struggles and challenges that came to them as they were mocked and ridiculed. It was their faith in Jesus that brought them hope.
Faith within the church is alive and well. It is our faith that calls us into action. It is our faith that calls us to reach out to those in need and to provide and to lift up the least of these. Our faith can be witnessed in many forms. It is here this morning in our worship, as your faith brought you here. It is in those that are serving and preparing sticky buns to raise funds for our mission team. It is in our teenagers that are preparing to be confirmed next Sunday.
The awesome thing is that we have just enough faith to do those things that ought to be done. We do not need anymore when all of our faith can be found in Jesus Christ. As we learn to trust him as he guides us, our faith is nurtured and we experience the grace God has given freely to each and every one of us.
“Faith is hopeful, trusting, strong even in weakness, surprising and cheerfully active – not because of our belief, but because of the One we believe in, and that, indeed is Good News.” (1)
(1) Margit Ernst-Habib, from Feasting on the Word Year C, Volume 4