luke 17:1-10

Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come!  It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.”

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”

Faith the size of a mustard seed doesn’t seem like much. If you’ve never seen a mustard seed, it’s small. Really small. Like, get lost really easy small. But Jesus says, this is all we need. Mustard seeds are only about a millimeter in diameter, but just a tiny seed has a lot of flavor and they bring forth really big plants. They also have a large amount of protein and healthy oil in just one tiny seed. One tiny seed has the ability to do all of that.

Jesus uses the seed in two ways: First, faith doesn’t have the be big. It only takes a tiny seed to get the momentum going. You can do big things with small amounts of faith. Second, even the tiniest amount of faith has the things that we need to keep us going. Like the protein and healthy oil found in a mustard seed, those tiny pieces of our faith can sustain us and allow us to grow. It gives us the things we need to keep going and living out our faith in the world.

Next time you feel like your faith is not great enough, just remember what Jesus said about the mustard seed. There is so much that one tiny amount of faith can do. It’s up to us to put that faith into action.

God, give us the faith of the mustard seed to grow, move, nurture, and sustain us and the world. Never let us take our faith for granted, no matter how large or small it might seem. Amen.

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