Summary: Growing your faith in action
In our reading from the gospel today,
The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.
Then Jesus speaks about a servant doing his duty. He is to do his duty not seeking praise or glory. This is all part of Jesus’ response to the request of the Disciples, “Increase our Faith”. He tells the disciples you are doing what is expected of you no more, …and no less.
It seems to me Our Duty is to live by faith in Christ Jesus, - to Walk by Faith - and to be about the task of performing that duty each and every day.
Our Duty is to live by faith in Christ Jesus, and it is the performance of that Duty, that will accomplish, or fulfill that request for increased faith.
If you remember nothing else from today’s homily, remember this:
Our Duty is to live by faith in Christ Jesus, and it is the performance of that Duty, that will accomplish or fulfill that request for increased faith.
We are not to expect praise or glory from God. Living the Christian Life is what is expected of those who have been saved through Christ Jesus. Followers of the Christ must not just talk the talk, they must walk the walk. That is what Jesus is saying when he speaks about duty. It’s about Faith.
In Mark 11:23-24, Jesus said, "Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him”.
There is a very clear requirement that the Lord needs from each of us to be able to remove mountains, or throw mulberry bushes into the sea. That Requirement to moving mountains in prayer is having Faith in God.
But while that seems like a simple saying, it’s really not that simple. There are 4 significant facts about this required Faith in God.
1. The first significant fact is: The object of faith is God Himself.
The critical words are “in God”. Jesus did not just say, “Have faith,” but “Have faith in God.”
Faith MUST have an object. Faith has no value by itself; only the object (God) has value. This is why Linus’ faith in the Great Pumpkin never amounts to nor accomplishes a thing.
The Bible never says to have faith in faith, yet this is what most of us spend our time trying to do, and it doesn’t work. It never works.
Too often, a great difficulty or problem arises, and the believer feels they have to stir up their sincere faith. He or she feels that if he can just stir up enough fervor in their faith, he will whip the problem. But in reality they just have faith in faith. Their mind, their attention, and their heart have been focused upon faith not upon God.
Hear me very clearly. It isn’t our faith that moves the mountain. It isn’t our faith that casts the mulberry bush into the sea. A man’s faith is not going to and cannot move the mountain. God is the One who moves the mountain.
Faith requires knowing the object of Faith. Let me repeat that: Faith requires knowing the object of Faith. The more one knows the object of faith, the more one understands how the object may, or may not be trusted.
Consider the story of two men who want to go out on a frozen lake in Wisconsin to fish. One man is visiting from Florida and is told to go ahead and cross to the middle of the lake. He is assured by his friend that the ice will hold him up. Yet, when he begins to step out on the ice, he cautiously and tremblingly takes step after step—usually until he can stand it no more and returns.
But the other man who lives by the lake walks out courageously and boldly, cuts a hole in the ice, and sits down and begins to fish.
I have three important non-rhetorical questions for you.
• What supported the man sitting out there fishing on the ice?
Not his faith, but the ice—the object of his faith.
• Of the two, who had the strongest faith?
Of course the man out on the ice. The one with the weak faith is the man who slowly inched his way back.
• What made the difference?
One man knew the ice and the other man did not.
The Second Significant Fact about this required faith is its purpose. The Purpose of faith is to remove mountains.