Summary: Faith is like a seed. It starts as something small and over time grows into something larger that allows us to do great things in Christ’s name.
A wealthy man died and went to heaven. He was met at the Pearly Gates by Saint Peter who led him down the streets of gold. They passed mansion after mansion until they came to the very end of the street. Saint Peter stopped the rich man in front of a little shack. “This belongs to you,” said Saint Peter. “Why do I get this ugly thing when there are so many mansions I could live in?” the man demanded. “We did the best we could with the money you sent us!” Saint Peter replied.
Have you ever noticed that some of the greatest or most beautiful things in life come from things that are very small?
Let me give you an example. How many of you plant vegetables or flowers? Plants and flowers start as seeds. Once these seeds are planted, they slowly grow into plants and vegetables of different sizes. All you have to do is look at pumpkins that are entered into various weigh-ins at this time of year. Some of them weigh hundreds of pounds, but they all started from a small seed.
Faith is like a seed. It starts as something small and over time grows into something larger that allows us to do great things in Christ’s name. Many people believe they would be better equipped to live the Christian life if God wold only grant them more faith. Jesus focused not on the quantity of faith but its character. More faith does not equal greater ability to accomplish things, since God is the One who does the work. The Lord is able to accomplish great things with only a grain of genuine faith. Even an small amount of faith can lead to remarkable results if it is the result of a genuine trust in God.
When we ask for more faith like the disciples did in the reading we heard from Luke 17:5-10 earlier in this morning’s service, it’s often because we are facing difficulties in life and we fear that our faith will weaken or that it won’t match the trials we are facing. Jesus tells both the disciples and us that the quantity of faith we have is not important. What matters is the quality of our faith. A small amount of faith will enable us to do great things for God. Having faith does not mean that we will have the power to perform crowd-pleasing miracles. Sometimes the simplest things done in faith can have huge impacts. Our response to the gift of faith is the desire and ability to do what Jesus asks us to do, including great things.
Jesus illustrated His teaching on faith by pointing to a nearby mulberry tree-a large, stout tree know for its longevity and deep root system. Our faith is to be like the mulberry tree-large, strong, long-lasting and deeply rooted in the love we have for God.
When we struggle against life’s injustices and wrongs, we are reminded that the good work we do is a gift from God. That gift is sufficient to enable us to do what needs to be done to further God’s dominion on earth. Faith is putting one foot in front of the other and walking toward a future we do not see but trust that God is working. Faith is heading out the door every day looking for opportunities to do God’s work in the world.
Christ’s standards might seem to be too high, but they represent the minimum duties for a servant of Christ. When we obey Christ, we are not to think that our obedience is meritorious. Servants are expected to do the will of their masters or employers; their work is not a favour but a required service. A servant of God seeks to obey God’s commands without question and without bargaining for a reward. When we follow Jesus’ teachings, we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. God owes us nothing, and we owe him everything, even our lives. We are not owed any special favours or rewards for our good works. We will be rewarded in heaven.
When it comes to obeying Jesus, full faith is needed. If we want to increase our faith, we must understand what faith is, and we must be rightly motivated in wanting to see our faith increase. These motives are:
1. Wanting to please God.
2. Wanting to do good works of love, which is a mark of a true Christian.
3. An effective prayer life.
4. Wanting to live by faith.
God wants to strengthen our faith through the hardships He allows into our lives. God works in all kinds of circumstances, among all types of people, in all kinds of situations. He is with us wherever there is even faith as small as a mustard seed. He is alive wherever we practice the faith we already have.