Faith. We all want more faith. But in this passage, Jesus surprisingly says that the faith you’ve got already is more than enough.
If you have mustard seed-sized faith, guess what? That’ll do. Take a pen and make a dot on a piece of paper. That’s how big a mustard seed is. Just a dot of faith is all you need when you trust that God is going to do all the rest.
A few women in town said to some of us male clergy several years ago that they wanted to do something about homelessness in our community. They wanted to open a transitional housing ministry so that folks could stabilize their lives, find a job, save up a rental deposit, and then get an apartment so that they would have their own place to call home.
“That’s a great idea,” we wise pastors said, “but how are you going to raise the money?”
“We thought we would cook hotdogs in the park and take up a freewill offering.”
To which we in the know replied: “That is not going to work. What you need to do is recruit corporate sponsorships from local businesses and factories. You’ll need to do a capital campaign to raise money. And you’re gonna need a lot. This is going to take planning, starting with a feasibility study. This is going to take years.”
After we got done mansplaining the right way to do things, the women replied, “Well, it may take years to do it your way, but folks are homeless now. So, we’re just going to get started. This Saturday. We are going to cook hotdogs in the park and take up a free will offering and see where the Holy Spirit leads us.”
And off they went, destined – we pastors “wisely” thought – to certain failure. Fast forward five years: Pam’s Promise Transitional Housing is going strong right here in Crawfordsville, helping many to stabilize their lives and walk with God into a brighter day.
How on earth did they pull off that miracle? Maybe they didn’t. Maybe God did. Maybe God just likes hotdogs — with a little mustard.
God took their hotdogs and mustard seed, can-do faith and did something way bigger than moving a dumb, old mulberry tree. God and those faithful, “foolish” women, who decided not to look at the long odds against them, but instead to look toward the good Lord who was with them, tackled an “impossible” problem, turning a dead end into a new beginning.
While that might surprise pastors, that should not surprise you. Our Easter faith is all about new beginnings and Good Fridays becoming Easter risings.
What if the faith you already have is all you need? Jesus never said that we needed to have it all figured out. All Jesus asked us to do was to follow him.
When you get down to it, all faith is is going where Jesus goes and doing what Jesus does – while trusting that God’s grace is sufficient as we try our best to live life God’s way. Faith is not having all the answers. Faith is just trusting that God is who God is supposed to be and that God is going to do what God is supposed to do. Trusting that and then doing the next right thing – that’s what faith is. That’s all that it is.
God mostly deals with us on a need-to-know basis. Instead of demanding the entire blueprint before we agree to take the first step, what if we just did the next right thing and then the next and the next and the next? If we were willing to do that, I think we’d go a whole farther with Jesus along the road he wants us to take – and as we did that, I think we would all have a lot more peace in our lives and love in our heart and goodness in our world.
What is the mulberry tree you are facing? What is that “insurmountable” hurdle before you? That “impossible” challenge? What if that scary thing in front of you is actually a God thing waiting to happen?
What if that truly is the case? Jesus, who is with you right now, is just waiting for you rise up and walk with him. Take the first step. I do not know where our good Lord will lead you, but, I do know this: As you walk with him, your journey will lead to joy.