October 3, 2004

Luke 17:5-10

[5] The apostles came up and said to the Master, "Give us more faith."

[6] But the Master said, "You don't need more faith. There is no 'more' or 'less' in faith. If you have a bare kernel of faith, say the size of a poppy seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, 'Go jump in the lake,' and it would do it.

[7] "Suppose one of you has a servant who comes in from plowing the field or tending the sheep. Would you take his coat, set the table, and say, 'Sit down and eat'? [8] Wouldn't you be more likely to say, 'Prepare dinner; change your clothes and wait table for me until I've finished my coffee; then go to the kitchen and have your supper'? [9] Does the servant get special thanks for doing what's expected of him? [10] It's the same with you. When you've done everything expected of you, be matter-of-fact and say, 'The work is done. What we were told to do, we did.'"

[The Message]

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1. I'm so glad my spiritual ancestors asked for more faith. There are times when I, too, find myself standing in the need of faith. That gift waxes and wanes in my consciousness. It needs to be renewed. I am feeling puny in faith, for longer or shorter times. This is a part of our experience and we cry out for, "More." We are big fans of "more."

2. I am so glad my spiritual ancestor brings the comfort of faith not being a competitive sport. In my obsession with winning (did the apostle's sense that the rabble following Jesus was catching up to them in faith and they would lose their competitive edge of a special place in the new regime -- thus the desire for more faith?) I haven't yet used all the energy in my present faith and am already claiming I am empty. When I take the opportunity to relax and breathe I can better see the connection between my faith and my actions and know I have enough.

I am reminded of a speculative fiction short story read in my youth and childhood about several products given to humanity by a superior civilization. One of them was a razor blade that never got dull. The person who received this gift purchased it in the usual way and though it kept shaving very well, he began to think it was time for it to wear out and finally threw it away thinking he had used it enough. [Anyone know the reference?] Our perceptions so easily get out of touch with our actual experience that we don't know the gifts and blessings we do have.

3. I keep forgetting that the context of this conversation is that of forgiveness. In this context I do need more faith to approach the seven-times model of forgiveness. In this context I do already have what I need to forgive one more time.

How about you?

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