Readings: Habakkuk 1:2-3;2:2-4; II Timothy 1:6-8;13-14; Luke 17:5-10
I find that the Gospels employ a different logic than I learned from philosophy. For example, today the Apostles ask Jesus about increasing their faith and he compares faith to a mustard seed. He doesn’t give them step-by-step instructions to increase faith but a description. But what does the next part, about servants and masters, have to do with their question?
Deep down, I suspect that there is a consistency but I can’t yet see it. What’s blinding me?
Is my understanding of faith too small? Do I still have faith confused with a list of doctrines? Even if I grasp that faith, as described by the Scriptures, implies that my relationship with God is trustworthy no matter what, have I actually experienced what that means?
Jesus’ linking faith-the-size-of-a-mustard-seed with the work of servants might be a breakthrough. Faith isn’t what goes on in my head or even in my heart. Faith is acted out or, better, lived out in everyday life. I do faith as much as I believe faith. I make what I believe real by doing it. Like the mustard seed, it’s organic. Elsewhere Jesus describes the mustard seed as growing into a bush so large that it can shelter the birds of the air: faith can come to life and cultivate life. It is organic.
Faith is not a check-list of beliefs but a way to engage the creation around me in such a way as to engage our Creator. It’s not either…or: either creation or the Creator. It’s finding each through the other.
To live faith is not to chalk up points. Again, it’s not a checklist leading to excellence. It is not self-improvement or a formula for success; or earning God’s favor. In fact, faith isn’t quantitative at all: it it’s only the size of a mustard seed, that’s plenty!
When I do God’s will, I haven’t earned a gold star for a job well done, nor have I won God’s approval. I’ve simply become what I was created to be. I am then in tune with God and my sisters and brothers and creation about me by serving them. I’ve been stretched out of my preoccupations and self-absorption to become the bigger “self” God made me to be. That is so beautiful, so good in itself, what reward would I need? When I realize from experience that we are meant to interconnect–even with God–how could any reward ever improve on that?