Jesus said something very peculiar to his disciples, didn’t he, when he opined ‘if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, be removed into the sea, and it will obey you’. Ever since then, people have made the mistake of believing that Jesus wanted them to have ‘more faith’ (as though managing to have more of something ephemeral were at all possible, like having more ‘love’ or more ‘patience’).
It has not occurred to most, it seems, that having ‘more’ faith is something of which we are just not at all capable. Just how does one have ‘more faith’? Has anyone ever explained that sufficiently, or even carefully? Not to my satisfaction and if you’re honest, probably not to yours either.
So I would like to suggest that many have read Jesus wrong. He is not at all encouraging MORE faith- he is pointing out very sensibly that IF we had so much as a speck of faith, we COULD command mountains, etc. The fact that we DON’T command mountains means that we have even LESS faith than a speck, and THAT is exactly what he wants us to know.
Quite plainly, he’s telling folk ‘you don’t have any faith to speak of.’ And that’s the real truth. We don’t. And when we try to ‘have’ more we just fail. And then we feel faithless (because we are) and then we feel even worse (which we should) until, finally, we come to our senses and realize that he has faith aplenty for us and on our behalf.
And before you get all fired up in disagreement, you silly thing, realize that Paul understood things JUST this way. Do recall his (and yes, Ephesians is Paul’s) – ‘For by grace are you saved, through faith. And that not of your selves, it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one has anything to boast about.’
Faith is a gift which Another holds in trust for us. Whew. That, frankly, is quite a relief. It means that faith is given to us and we neither manufacture it nor muster it up. Faith is the gift of God. And gifts are given to whomsoever the giver wishes.
If one has faith (which none of us do in and of ourselves) then that very faith is God’s magnanimous act of kindness. We don’t need to have it in the volume of a seed. Christ has it in plenitude and it is operative in us by virtue of him. Anyway, the truth is, you see, you just don’t have any at all. Stop worrying, then, about getting more- and trust the one who has enough already, for you.