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Sermon Octpber 2 2022

Lectionary 27 C 2022 Increase Our Faith

Luke 17:5-10


Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

How many of you have ever asked God to increase your faith?  I know that when times get difficult, and when the problems of life get too hard to handle, it is natural for us to pray to God to increase our faith to help us get through the day.  

Well, guess what?  The disciples were no different.  In our text today the disciples also asked the Lord to increase their faith when life’s journey got too tough for them to handle. 

And boy were things getting rough for the disciples.  Ever since the end of the 9th chapter of Luke, when Jesus had set His face towards Jerusalem, Jesus has challenged His disciples to think and act in ways that they had never acted before. 

And He told them that soon things were going to get even tougher, and that they need to stay strong and together and trust IN Him because it would be better if a big stone was hung around their necks, and they were dropped into the sea than for them to stumble. No wonder the disciple’s asked for their faith to be increased.  They were exhausted!  They were confused!  The events were happening too fast for them to comprehend. 

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am exhausted just reading about what the disciples had to experience in the chapters leading up to today’s Gospel reading. 

The kind of discipleship described in these passages are demanding.  They are painful.  And if we are honest with ourselves, we would have to admit that this is not what we signed up for. So, it is any wonder that the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith to help them live out the life Jesus was prescribing to them.    

And how did Jesus respond?  Well, His response was both tough, and helpful.  Listen again to how He responded.  He told them “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed (which you do have) you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”  Luke 17:6   

In other words, Jesus told them that even the tiny bit of faith that they already have is more than enough.  Faith, after all, is a gift. 

And guess what?  We have no business telling God that we do not have enough when God always gives us enough to have life in His Kingdom.  

I think mistake the disciples made was not that they asked for more faith, but in thinking that they do not have enough faith.  In the heat of the moment, when the going got tough, the disciples felt that God’s gift of faith was insufficient.    

How easy is it for us to feel the same way too?  Here the disciples were in the presence of Jesus and still they felt they did not have enough. 

You know, we are not so unlike the first disciples.  How often do we tell ourselves: “If only I had a little bit more faith, I could… 

Do something important.

I could make a difference.

I would never struggle with doubt.

I would not be scared.

I would finally feel at peace.

I would know my future is secure.

I would be at ease even in the face of danger.

And yet, God has planted enough faith inside each one of us to live out the life God intended for us.  And God promises each one of us that He will not leave us or forsake us.  We are not left to our own devices.  Jesus reminds us today that even the smallest bit of faith in God is all that is needed. 

For you see faith is not something that we invent.  Faith does not come from inside us.  Faith comes to us from above.  God gave us His gift of faith when we were baptized and when the Holy Spirit made God’s Word come alive in us through scripture and worship. 

Therefore, even though our faith may seem at times to be as dim as a single candle burning all by itself in the darkness of night, scripture teaches us that as long as it continues to burn the light of Christ shines in us.  

And so, the question to ask is not how much faith we have but, rather, how are we living the faith we do have. How is our faith, our relationship with Jesus, changing our lives, our relationships, the lives of others? If it is not, more of the same will surely make no difference.

The mustard seed of faith is already planted within us. It is Christ himself.  He has withheld from us nothing. We already have enough. We do not need more faith. We simply need to accept and thank God for the Gift of His only begotten Son who gave His life for our fallen world so that all who believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  Amen. 

Let us pray:  God of mercy, you know us better than we know ourselves, and still you love us and plant within us the seed of faith.  Wash us from all sins, create in us clean hearts, and strengthen us by your Holy Spirit that we may give you praise; in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord we pray.  Amen.