West Texas was a great place to look up the stars when I was growing up. I used to go outside, look up, and just be mesmerized by those twinkling lights in the night sky. My tiny little brain struggled to understand how big our universe is. Because everything on earth seemed so very small compared to these massive night portraits of God’s creation. In the time you took to read these first few lines, a photon of light has travelled from the Sun some 10 million kilometers. Thats the same as going around the earth 250 times. The universe we see is massive.
These facts are hard for me to comprehend, and even if my mind wants to believe they are true, for me to believe them requires faith. Massive amounts of faith. What does “massive amounts of faith” actually look like though? On one occasion the apostles came to Jesus and said, “Increase our faith.” [Luke 17:5] I found that to be a strange request. Did these men really believe Jesus would make it that easy, by just “giving” them massive faith? But stranger still was the answer Jesus gave them.
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,” the Lord said, “you can say to this mulberry tree, Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
There have been vast numbers of sermons and bible lessons built around these two verses, and almost always they appear to be stand alone lessons from Jesus. But if these two verses are all that’s examined, we will surely miss the point of Jesus’ teaching. Because verses 7-10 are the CONTEXT by which this mustard seed/massive faith is understood.
Which one of you having a slave tending sheep or plowing will say to him when he comes in from the field, Come at once and sit down to eat? Instead, will he not tell him, “Prepare something for me to eat, get ready, and serve me while I eat and drink; later you can eat and drink?” Does he thank that slave because he did what was commanded? In the same way, when you have done all that you were commanded, you should say, “We are good-for-nothing slaves; we’ve only done our duty.”
Massive faith is balanced in this life with massive obedience. When we daily bring glory to God with our lives, we are obediently living out our singular purpose, which in turn brings the kind of faith that can move mountains, according to Jesus. Why then do we see so little “mountain-moving” among people of faith today? Good question, huh? Another example may give us the clue to massive faith.
One day Jesus had been teaching his disciples to not be like the Scribes and Pharisees who put their “so-called-faith” on display, to be praised by men. These false teachers were show-men. They wanted to be seen as the ultimate model of righteousness. So Jesus, while sitting in the temple, across the hall where the money was being collected, He watched how people gave their offerings at church. The collection place was a large metal urn where people would place their money in such a way as to make a really big clanging noise against the metal.
About this time a widow who was massively poor came along and dropped in two tiny, almost obscure, copper coins (mites) which didn’t even rattle as they hit the urn. Jesus sees the opportunity for another lesson on massive faith, turns to his apostles and says…
“I assure you: This poor widow has put in more than all those giving to the temple treasury. For they all gave out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she possessed–all she had to live on.”
Massive faith is giving all. Giving everything you know about yourself to everything you know about God, and believing He will take care of it all. Massive faith is believing when I align my will with God’s will, then God’s will … will be done. More importantly, when I align my will with God’s will, His Holy Spirit will guide me to what needs to be done, and empower me to do what needs to be done, to accomplish God’s will. Penniless and powerless, this widow brought more glory to God than anyone else in the temple that day. There is no doubt in my mind that God blessed this woman in ways we can’t even imagine.
Mustard seeds and mites are the formula for mountain-moving massive amounts of faith!