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. Luke 17:5-6
During a break at a Leadership Conference this week for the Indiana Kentucky Synod, I took a stroll through a park. Along the way, I discovered this massive tree that had fallen over the creek and marveled at the deep roots that had been pulled up from the ground during the fall.
It made me think about all the root systems beneath the ground upon which I was walking. There was more going on below the surface than I thought.
There’s more going on below the surface to this short parable Jesus teaches in response to the apostles’ request for a greater faith.
Frankly, why would anyone want to plant a mulberry tree in the sea? Would it even grow? That’s impossible.
But so is resurrection from the dead. Isn’t that what Jesus taught us from his death on a tree that leads to an empty grave?
Faith is mysterious and a gift. We rarely have faith in the right things. But God’s faith in us is supremely surprising. God continually encourages imperfect people to lead and to teach and be bearers of God’s promises. Jesus continues to do the same with his apostles. The Holy Spirit continues to do the same through us.
We may not ever possess enough faith to do the impossible, but maybe we are little mustard seeds of God’s faith, that in and through us, the Spirit was accomplishing far more through us than we ever thought possible?
In other words, it’s not us doing the impossible. It’s God. And that is good news!