How Much Faith is Enough?          Luke 17:1-6 

How Much Faith is Enough?           Luke 17:1-6 

How Much Faith is Enough?                                     Luke 17:1-6 

The first time I went rock climbing, our leader tried to instill in us a faith in the rope.  He explained what the rope was made of, how much pressure it could withstand, and how much weight it could hold.  He talked about how the ropes were checked before every climb to see if there was any fraying that had occurred or if any certain spots were wearing thin.  After a certain amount of climbs, ropes were thrown away in order to make sure they were not too old and worn out.  Our leader gave us all of this information about the rope because he wanted to increase our faith in it.  He wanted to build up our confidence in the ability of the rope to hold us because he knew that if we trusted it to hold us, we could get over our fear more easily and we would be more likely to finish the climb.  That rope and the person belaying us was all we would need to be safe during the climb, but we had to trust that it was enough.

In the text from Luke this Sunday, Jesus is asking his disciples to do something hard and perhaps a little scary.  He is saying that they need to be able to confront people who have sinned and then be prepared to forgive them if they repent not just once but seventy-seven times!   In response to this difficult spiritual and emotional challenge the disciples say, “Increase our faith!”  What Jesus is asking of them seems like a tall order and they are looking for more strength.  Jesus replies and says,  “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.  

It could sound at first that Jesus is being critical of the disciples, like they do not even seem to have a tiny amount of faith.  But what if Jesus is actually telling them that they do not need to be so worried because even a little bit of faith goes a long way.  The disciples want more, but what Jesus could be saying is that they already have enough.   He could be saying that it doesn’t take much faith to do great things.  Jesus could be saying “Trust me.  I have given you what you need.”

Do we ever look at other people and get discouraged because we don’t think we have as much faith as they do?  Do we ever not try something we think God is calling us to because we don’t think we have enough faith?  Is it possible that we might also use this as an excuse not to do something hard or scary?  What if we had the mentality instead that we already had all we needed? What if instead of an attitude of scarcity, we believed that God’s gift of grace was sufficient?  What if we could trust that our faith, even if it just seems small, is enough to do what God is calling us to do?

-Pastor Erik Goehner