We sometimes wonder, “If only I have more faith, I would not have this illness, this problem. If only I have more faith, I would be a much better person and do things differently.”
Faith is a choice in our lives even at the same time that it is a gift of God to us. There are days when our faith seems small and weak. There are times when our faith seems strong and deep. Faith is about trusting in God. Faith liberates us and helps us to see the power and love of God at work in our lives.
In the Gospel’s passage. the disciples asked Jesus to ‘increase’ their faith. They wanted to upsize their faith. Jesus, however, told them that they need not upsize their faith but if they had the size of a little mustard seed, that would do. The request for an increase in faith must not entice us to presuppose that with this increase comes more power to lord over others. Rather, the more faith one has, the more one lowers oneself to be a servant. In fact, as Christians, we can never say, “I have enough with serving. Now, it is your turn to serve me!”
Their humility and acceptance of the disciples’ lack reminds us of the importance of faith in our life. Jesus teaches about faith and service to God. The context is a continuing dialogue between Jesus and his followers about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus had just finished an instruction on sin and forgiveness. There are two related teachings that Jesus offers to his disciples when they cry out for an increase in faith. The first is that faith, even if just a little, will enable the followers to do wondrous things. ‘ If you had faith like a mustard seed you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea,” and it would obey you.’ (Luke 17:6)
More faith does not lead us to gain status or praises from others. Rather, it moves us to put into practice Jesus’ ways of loving in the ordinary moments of the day. At the end of the day, how happy we are if we can go to Jesus, our Master, and tell Him with humility and joy, “We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.”
The second teaching is about knowing one’s place in God’s plan. Jesus goes on to compare the disciple with a servant of his own time, usually a slave. When the servant comes back from working hard in the fields all day, he is not told: “Oh come in, you must be tired! Sit down, have your dinner, put up your feet and watch TV!” No, he is more likely to be told: ”It is about time you got back. I’m hungry. Hurry up and get my dinner ready. Then, maybe you can have some time for yourself.”
Our relationship with God is not about giving and getting in return; I give God so much and I can expect so much in return. No, our relationship with God is of total and unconditional love and service. The joy and satisfaction is not found in what we can do to squeeze favours from God but in what we can give and share of ourselves.
If we look at faith as belief, it means that we accept things that don’t have any real evidence or logical proof. For example, belief in God or belief in an afterlife. People have come up with proofs for God’s existence, but in reality most people believe it in faith.
With Love & Peace,
Jackie and Patrick