Faith considered matter of quality rather than quantity

Vicar Amy Martinell

Vicar Amy MartinellColumnist

Last spring, right before my daughter turned one I had a lot of fun teaching her a little basic sign language. I was so excited when she began to sign back to me. It was a great way for us to start to “talk” before she had any words she could say. From the beginning Alexa had one favorite sign MORE and soon she used it for everything. More food, more stories, more swinging, more mommy. Simply by tapping her fists together she was able to get whatever she wanted.

I know I am a little like my daughter. I am often looking for more, but my requests are often a little harder to fill then my daughter’s. You may be able to relate, if you have ever felt the need for more rest, more money, or a little more time.

Jesus’ disciples were a little like this too. In the Bible they ask Jesus for more faith. Jesus answers this request in a rather puzzling way, saying that if they had even the faith the size of a mustard they’d be able to uproot a tree and replant it in the sea. For those of you non-horticulture majors a mustard seed is very small only about one or two millimeters long. So Jesus claims that with just a time bit of faith the impossible, like planting a tree in the ocean, become possible.

Wanting more faith is not an unusual request. I believe we all have times where we doubt and despair and wish for more faith. Times when we worry our faith cannot be enough because it seems so weak. Often college, when you have moved away from your family and support system, can be a time when your faith seems dried out, maybe even nonexistent.

So you, like the disciples, may have worried that your faith isn’t enough and have begged for a little more, hoping to make things a little easier and to feel a little more reassured. In telling the disciples they only need the faith the size of a mustard seed, Jesus is teaching them about the nature of faith. You see, faith isn’t a substance that you can measure or count. It’s not something you can add to, subtract from or measure in anyway. Faith is not about an amount, it is about a relationship. Therefore, what matters is not how much faith you have, but who you put your faith in.

You may have learned this the hard way. When we put our trust in the wrong people we can end up badly burned. Perhaps you have learned to be careful who you put your trust in. After all the more you trust the more it hurts when they let you down.

But our relationship with God is not like our human relationships. When we put our trust in God all things are possible. Therefore, Jesus does not want us to spend our time worrying about whether or not we have enough faith; instead, he desires that we delight in the Lord. When we are able to drop the fear and worry that can consume us, our lives are open to God in a whole new way. We are able to see the blessings and gifts God has given us and trust Him to guide our lives. Then instead of asking for more, we are able to delight in the time, the resources and the relationships that we already have.

Vicar Amy Martinell can be reached at [email protected].

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