Anyone else ever see a meme on social media, and think “That is great” and you are right about to share it when, suddenly, you stop and think about it for a moment? I saw the above meme today, and on the surface it sounds great, but then I realized that, no, this is actually what is wrong with Christianity, not what is right.
Let’s look at the supporting scripture for this – Matthew 17:14-21 (HCSB)
14 When they reached the crowd, a man approached and knelt down before Him. 15 “Lord,” he said, “have mercy on my son, because he has seizures and suffers severely. He often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 I brought him to Your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”
17 Jesus replied, “You unbelieving and rebelliousgeneration! How long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 Then Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and from that moment the boy was healed.
19 Then the disciples approached Jesus privately and said, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
20 “Because of your little faith,” He told them. “For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. [21 However, this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.]”
There is a lot going on here in these verses. We could go into a long discussions about demons, and how they scoff authority – for remember, the disciples were given authority to cast out demons. But that is a subject for a different blog. I want to focus on the faith aspect.
First, notice the wording – it was not that the disciples did not have faith. The scripture does not say that. It says that the disciples had LITTLE faith. They had a small amount. This is what Jesus is scolding them about – not lack of faith, but having just a small amount. Because of this, the disciples could not do what they had already had the authority to do. Think about that for a moment – they had the power to do it, they just did not believe that they could do it.
Look at Mark 16:17-18 (HCSB)
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages; 18 they will pick up snakes; if they should drink anything deadly, it will never harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well.”
In the animated movie The Prince of Egypt, there is this wonderful song called “When You Believe”. The lyrics go like this:
“Many nights we prayed, With no proof anyone could hear, In our hearts a hope for a song We barely understood. Now we are not afraid Although we know there’s much to fear, We were moving mountains Long before we knew we could. There can be miracles, When you believe, Though hope is frail, Its hard to kill. Who knows what miracles You can achieve, When you believe somehow you will, You will when you believe”
Here is the point – many Christians think that the mustard seed is the goal. “When I can move a mountain, then I will have great faith.” Look at that mustard seed – it is tiny. That is the very definition of Little Faith – the mustard seed is not supposed to be the goal, it is supposed to be the starting point. And like the song in the movie, you have probably been moving mountains without even realizing it.
The mustard seed is not the goal. What could we do if we had faith the size of a finger? If we had faith in our hands and knees? Faith the size of our heart? What could we do if we had faith that filled our whole being?
I certainly do not want to get to the Day of Judgement, hoping that I could achieve mustard-seed-sized faith when God was calling me to so much more. I certainly do not want to get to His throne and have Him say to me, “Ye of little faith, why did you doubt?” Remember, Peter WALKED ON WATER, yet he could not believe what he was doing and began to sink, and God said to him “Ye of little faith…”
To me, the mustard seed is like a milestone. It is like winning a trip around the world, and you getting excited because you were able to complete the self-check-in at the airport and being satisfied with that, and going home. No, there is so much more in store.
Father, please help us to strengthen our faith. I want mine to be so much more than just a mere mustard seed. Please, Father, help me and guide me to get so much deeper with You. Amen