Angels seem to join in. Wow!


Luke 17:5-10 : 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 ploughing 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!”

Another passage where I am sitting reading the words, searching my heart and struggling for meaning. One of the “tough passages”. Contradictory. Different strokes for different folks. Commentaries on this not immediately helpful. Another sliding around the detail.

(Remember what you wrote earlier: But how do I make this “fit”?) Ah yes – thank you lord.

“Lord – HELP!”

The lord squeezes my shoulders. Thanks lord. And slowly and gently he guides me. Not you, or you, or even you – but me in this moment and this day. He coaxes me to combine the two elements of this passage.

Faith is faith. Love is love. For ever is for ever. Asking for “more” is not the point. If faith, love, eternity is real – it cannot be measured. It cannot be increased. It is enough. It is.

And in the same way: the Lord is God and we are not. Asking for more faith, more love, more eternity is treating faith and the lord like some fast food outlet: ” Two portions of faith to go please” … “Will those be large portions sir?” … “Oh go on then – super-size me”. Maybe – somewhere – believing we are equals? Maybe thinking we can create and give and take and be god.

Or is the lord simply saying slavery is okay?

Whereas I had been struggling with the whole piece, it was the issue of slavery in the second half of the passage (in a published commentary) that seemed to be “wrong”. Is the lord condoning slavery? Surely not! Are we not to condemn slavery? Come on lord – make it fit!! And with no clear answer from this commentator. Another sliding around the detail. More tough stuff needing to fit our version of God, Love, Faith (and is that for others or for ourselves?). More floundering in confusion. A desperate need for clarity (and our control?). Needing more “evidence” to believe. Making every detail fit so we can continue justifying our belief. Making it evidence. Just like me but from another direction. Both of us needing “more”?

Yet isn’t the lord simply using language of the time, language that painted the picture he was giving us. Language for helping his audience understand better. Like the mustard seed, like the mulberry tree, like the sheep, the ploughing? Ordinary simple language. And if so, why do we add our “please can we have more” modern day moral confusion to his words? Jumping in with our big boots as the lord jumps out of our way.

Because in doing so we miss the point:

Faith is. God is. We are. And that is enough for miracles. For all consuming love. For God to smile upon us. Which makes asking for more our own confusion. Not of the lord. Not of god. But of ourselves.

And sitting here I hear a quiet clap behind me. And another. And another and another and more. And angels seem to join in. All around. Wow!

Applause for a lesson learned and remembered. And acted upon! Another first for me.

Thanks lord!

11 thoughts on “Angels seem to join in. Wow!

  1. I agree – quite a difficult passage to dig into. As we were reminded this morning, perhaps the first 2 verses are one topic and the remainder a second topic on the same main theme.
    The bit about slavery may be rather non-pc, but the nature of being a servant (whether we agree with it or not) is to “do the serving”. That’s the servant’s purpose in work and is therefore a reasonable expectation – not “requiring” thanks (it might, nonetheless, be nice to give it – but not as a requirement.) So our Christian service should be without totting up the “size of the portion” of faith that we have and should be without strings (like God’s love for us.). We shouldn’t be serving God because of the thanks that we will get, or the place that “we can earn” in heaven. Rather, we serve simply because God loves us.

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  2. I’m seeing this post for the first time…

    “Faith is faith. Love is love. For ever is for ever. Asking for “more” is not the point. If faith, love, eternity is real – it cannot be measured. It cannot be increased. It is enough. It is.”

    No argument here, but just questions that keep buzzing in my head. “Does love grow?” “Does faith grow?” From OUR side of the equation?

    Where do “love” and “faith” intersect? In me, in my life, heart, spirit, growth… these two words intersect at… “Trust”. I can only love as far as I “trust”. And I find “trust” requires “faith”.

    In me, over time, trust grows and has grown. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say the summary of my entire spiritual journey has been “coming to know and love God, as I have haltingly learned truly to trust Him.” Grace — LM

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  3. This post is like a photo. A younger Paul. I may have to re-read my own stuff!
    And what is missing here I think is connection. The Lord can only do with me as much as I can discern. With connection to the whole I can discern so much more. Tap into a shared consciousness. And connect to that shared love.

    David took on Goliath. Not by himself. Goliath was by himself. Just his phenomenal strength and him. David was connected. And safe.
    Trust faith love. My loom is clunking out a rope with all those strands bound tightly. I cannot see the individual strands. Because I see that rope connected. Like a power cable to the whole. The one. The all. Imagine David walking out with that plugged in to his back.

    I am not sure which bit grows or doesn’t. I just feel sadness for Goliath. He missed out.

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    • “Trust faith love. My loom is clunking out a rope with all those strands bound tightly. I cannot see the individual strands. Because I see that rope connected. Like a power cable to the whole. The one. The all. Imagine David walking out with that plugged in to his back”

      Yes… and another idea you expressed that captures me, perhaps it is not so much the “trust, faith, love” that “grows”… as it is the “our” part. That is, yes, we love, we trust, we hope, we “faith” completely… but we are only “so-big”. As we walk with Him, He “grows” us… we become “more”, or “bigger” in Him. So… our trust/faith/love grow apace.

      Just a thought.

      And, btw, thank you very much. Tonight, going over your post again, I saw something very different in this passage than I’ve ever seen before. It was and is wonderful, and I’ll probably make THAT it’s own post soon, but this can be read totally differently than I ever have.

      Thank you, Paul. Grace — LM 🙂 lol

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      • LM – this pastor is my favourite kind of music. This voice, the pace, intonation, timing, words, linkage, storytelling, insights, truth … And “stuff”! Everytime there is “stuff”. Great big gallumping, yummy, stuff! Thank you for again selecting a perfectly formed delicacy – perfectly presented – perfectly timed!

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    • You made me laugh when you said “stiff” speaking of The Pastor. It’s one of his favorite phrases, and I don’t recall if he speaks of it in anything you’ve heard. But he speaks of “outside stuff” (clothes, bank accts, car, house, what we collect) verses “inside stuff” (of the heart, mind, spirit, prayer, soul), and what really matters. He has a book listed on my “Good Reads” at the sidebar. I think it even has a chapter in it whose heading is about “Stuff”. 🙂

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    • I have listened to a couple of podcasts today – instead of background music (I work from home four days a week). And am beginning to appreciate “teaching” as opposed to “preaching”. Loads of “stuff” everywhere. Today was fishing and stuff – as in praying and stuff. So glad you introduced me to these. Thank you.

      And talking of reading – the Blessed Pastor is really groovy (chapter six: The Pastor and His Stuff). I think – with minor edits – it could be entitled “Applied Christianity: how to”

      Having fun!!

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  4. Pingback: Mobius Conversation: Increase Our Faith | The Postmodern Mystic

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