Summary: Enough Faith - The disciples ask for more
Yesterday, I was thinking about how much of something is enough?
Some things like money or nice things often seem like we can’t get enough. I am tempted to think that is something I would not mind trying to find out for myself.
Then another category that comes to mind would be things we can eat and drink.
Thanksgiving Day comes to mind and a level of overindulgence that makes many people just want to sleep, is something I have personally experienced. I guess we couple include drugs an alcohol which can damage you in all kinds of ways, for me not really tempting.
At some point you can get enough of sweet things, like cake or ice cream or candy. At one sitting you can definitely go over the line of enough and get uncomfortable.
There are some things that it does not take much at all to be enough for most people. It does not take much sour milk, certain perfumes, special hot sauce’s, or how about the smell of a skunk for most people to say enough.
Our scripture this morning starts off with the apostles asking Jesus to give them more faith. That does not seem like an unfair or selfish request.
It might be helpful to give you a little background on the moment; Chapter 16 and the beginning of chapter 17 have several parables. There is the one about the manager that is told the he is going to be fired and goes out making deals so he will have a place to go when it happens.
Then Jesus explains that not one part of the LAW is missing, then he hits on adultery.
The story of Lazarus and the rich man comes next and the challenge that people will not even believe a man raised from the dead. Jesus is stacking the teaching higher and higher and it looks harder and harder.
Then Jesus gets more personal, he talks of sin that is bound to come and that wearing a mill stone necklace (ancient equivalent of concreter galoshes) and drowning is a better alternative than facing God.
Then it adds, ‘So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ’I repent,’ forgive him.’
Tell me, if you were sitting around the living room and Jesus goes through this kind of list….would you feel any pressure?
Would you feel inadequate?
Would you feel like you could use some extra help?
That is when it seems like someone said it but everyone agreed,
"Increase our faith!"
I am pretty sure that I have asked more than once for an increase in my faith or some kind of restoration or special strength and knowledge and success.
I would imagine that most of you have as well.
As I think about it, that kind of request has probably come up in our prayers most often when we are facing some kind of trouble or pain.
When we have doubts that come to life in our minds we often ask God for more of something.
Let me read you a quote, “Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me? The Child of your Love — and now become as the most hated one — the one — You have thrown away as unwanted — unloved. I call, I cling, I want — and there is no One to answer — no One on Whom I can cling — no, No One. — Alone ... Where is my Faith — even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness — My God — how painful is this unknown pain — I have no Faith — I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart — & make me suffer untold agony.
So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them — because of the blasphemy — If there be God — please forgive me — When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven — there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives & hurt my very soul. — I am told God loves me — and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”
-- Man, that person sounds so tortured. They are experiencing doubts and a spiritual pain. They feel unloved by God and even doubt that there is a God.
Have you or maybe do you hear your thoughts and emotions in this poor person’s words.
I can’t claim to have ever been a precise or eloquent but I can relate. But everyone has a bad day or week or month, perhaps even a year…right?