The Gospel reading today speaks to us of faith and duty. The apostles asked to have their faith increased and rather than instructing them on how to increase their faith Jesus describes for them what true faith looks like. The understanding that Jesus conveys is that if we have faith even as small as a mustard seed we would be able to speak to a mulberry tree and the tree would obey our instruction. Our Lord makes the point that faith is not so much about quantity as it is about quality. Hebrews 11:1 records for us that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Our faith in God is the evidence of the existence and presence of a loving God who cannot be seen with the physical human eye. Through our Christian living we remind each other and we testify to our world that our God reigns; our Christian living draws others unto God and ultimately brings glory to God. Jesus goes on to speak about Christian duty in Luke 17:7-10 and thus makes an intimate link between faith and Christian duty or we can say a link between faith and good works as so beautifully emphasized by the apostle James in chapter 2 of his epistle. James explains for us that faith without works is dead and one therefore cannot profess to have faith and not behave in a manner that is reflective of such a faith.
To say “We believe in God” and not be willing to fellowship with the people of God is a contradiction. To say “We believe in the saving blood of Christ” and not come to receive the cup at the Holy Communion is a contradiction. To claim to believe in anything and not live in harmony with that statement of belief is a contradiction. The word “believe” is a verb and we were taught that a verb is an action word. To have “faith in” is to “believe in” and to ‘believe in’ means that we are doing something. Sadly in many of our churches today to believe is just another expression. To believe seems to now mean having a nice thought in our heads but in truth it is meant to mean so much more. The quality of our faith under the guidance of the Holy Spirit can move us to do more than we could ever imagine or conceive. Do we identify with the disciples in asking for more faith? Let us also ask ourselves the question, “What do I really believe?” If we live according to our faith we must come to the realization of living according to what we claim to believe. It is only when faith is genuine, note GENUINE and not plenteous, that with even the smallest amount we are enabled to do amazing things for God. Faith is the substance of things hoped for: what we hope for is what we are challenged to live out now.
th is that which enables us to be the change we want to see in the world. Faith and Christian duty or good deeds are inseparable.
We do not perform good deeds to get faith but because of our faith in God we are moved to do good deeds; And our faith in God comes through the saving grace brought to us in Jesus the Christ.
Rev. Fr. Dwane Cassius.