Increase our faith.
If you think about all the things that Jesus has said up to this point, in the Gospel of Luke, about what it means to be a disciple you can understand why the disciples thought they needed more faith.
Let us take a look at all the things that Jesus has said about being a disciple up until this point.
· Don't cause little ones (the most marginalized) to stumble
· Rebuke fellow followers that falter.
· Also, practice radical forgiveness to each other.
· Put God first in all you do in life, even ahead of family.
· Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
· None of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
No wonder the disciples are asking for more faith.
Anyone of these things would be difficult to live out, forget about all of them.
This doesn’t even mention being a light to all people or living as salted people.
Maybe something we don't take into account enough is how hard it is to be a disciple of Jesus.
It would seem that we would need lots of faith to do this.
And let us be honest with one another this morning.
Most of us are not doing these things.
We are just here trying to get by.
We are just trying to bring up kids, do a good job at work, and love our friends.
And let us be honest those things are hard enough.
I can tell you that is really hard to be a parent.
I can't speak for how hard it was at other times.
But I can tell you it is incredibly hard these days.
It is hard to be a family unit.
And one of the things that makes it so hard is that everyone will tell you how to do it.
And you will see other people on social media and it looks like their lives are so easy and great.
Here is a picture of my perfect child doing the perfect thing.
We don't tell the truth about how hard things really are.
My point is this, I sometimes don't think I have enough faith to just do the basics of life.
I don't know if I have enough days to make it through.
And Jesus is asking us to give up our lives, to forgive radically, and to be concerned about those suffering from poverty, hatred, and marginalization.
It is a lot to ask.
And yes I am with the disciples this morning, "I need more faith".
And Jesus gives an unsatisfactory answer.
Jesus essentially tells the disciples, and us, that we have all the faith we will ever need.
In fact, we have way more faith than we know.
And that faith has a power that we can't really imagine.
I mean can I really move a mulberry bush with my faith?
Can I throw it into the sea with my faith?
Let us assume this morning that Jesus is telling us the truth.
We have all the faith we will ever need.
Let us also assume this morning that you all feel the way that I do, that we simply don't have enough because life is just too overwhelming at times.
How do we bridge this gap?
How do we see what Jesus sees?
I know that as I get older and as I have more experiences in life I get to be more and more cautious about what can and can't be done.
It comes from living and experience.
You come to see the limits of your own power, and of your own gifts and abilities.
You also see that other people have the same limits.
You come to see time as something that is not limitless.
And often I will be in meetings and someone will suggest a course of action.
And the first thing that comes to my mind is, "that can't be done".
We don't have the time, energy, and resources to make that happen.
Do any of you experience this?
This is different than how I was when I was a young pastor.
My first congregation merged with another congregation.
We came up with a list of things we were going to do as a merged congregation.
Start a preschool, an after-school program, a faith-based community organization, and a day camp.
We had to present this at a conference meeting.
One of the people from another congregation said, "man that seems like a lot of things. I don't think you can do it."
To which I replied, "We are going to do it. It is going to be great."
You know what happened we did all those things and more.
Was it just the foolishness of youth?
I don't think so.
I really think I had the faith in God, in our congregation, and in myself to make those things happen.
It came from a deep place of trust in God to give us the strength to do them.
God gave me confidence in people to believe we could.
I don't have any less faith now than I did then.
The difference is that I forget sometimes.
I lose that faith in disappointment.
I lose it in the struggles of life.
I lose it in the complications of life.
But it is always there for me to have.
With that faith Jesus is right we can do all sorts of spectacular things.
We can forgive.
We can be generous in our giving.
We can care about those experiencing poverty.
We can care about our marginalized neighbors.
We can put God first in our lives.
We can move mountains.
But maybe more important we can do all the other things we are called to do too.
We can be loving parents, caring spouses, thoughtful friends, and helpful co-workers.
With faith, we can actually make it through each day doing the things God asks us to do.
We can get through life's most difficult things.
We can grow every day into the people that God calls us to be.
You don't need increased faith, you just have to use the faith you already possess.
You were given it in your baptism.
It is renewed by the Holy Spirit every day.
I think our faith does three things for us.
It gives us comfort to face life's difficulties.
It is important to know God is there for you.
It gives us the courage to face life's challenges.
It is important to know that God is pushing us to love and forgive more.
It gives us assurance to overcome our fears.
We need to know that God's love is always there for us so that we can overcome our fear of failure.
And if we do fail it is ok.
So may you know that you have all the faith you will ever need.
May that faith give you comfort, courage, and assurance.
May that faith help you in all your life's endeavors.
May it challenge you to be more generous, more forgiving, and more loving.
May it keep you following Jesus all the days of your life.