“Lord, increase our faith.” Luke 17:5
Maybe I’m getting over jet lag or maybe I was just having a couple of dry days but today’s gospel entry seems to offer as much clarity (for better or for worse) than the last couple days seems to be somewhat obscure. Anyway, here’s what I found this morning:
1. “Things that cause sin” are bound to come into our lives, so I shouldn’t panic or think I’m failing if I feel attacked or tempted by sin
2. BUT, “woe is me” if I am the one that is causing that sin to come—into my life or the lives of others. God’s pretty patient with the presence of sin as I journey with Him toward His kingdom; but He not quite as “understanding” if I’m the one causing the sin! This is the old “mill stone around the neck and jump in the sea” illustration that God uses to express His dislike if I CAUSE His children to sin! He’s pretty clear and strong on this point!
3. I shouldn’t be afraid to stand up and call sin—sin! BUT if a sinner is sorry for what he did I should be even quicker to forgive- over and over and over again!! I hope if I learn to be strong enough to call sin what it is, that I am equally, or perhaps even more strong in my attitude of forgiveness. Calling sin by its right name should not be a matter of being right, or winning, or putting someone down. It should be a redemptive focusing on what is right SO THAT we can encourage each other on our journey with God. But I don’t want to dwell on identifying sin as much as I want to dwell on forgiving, learning my lesson, perhaps teaching a lesson, and continuing on in my journey a bit stronger and more directed than before.
4. It doesn’t take much faith to make a difference for God. Other places in the gospel I have learned that I have been given a “measure of faith,” which by some linguists and anthropologists is about 3-5 gallons (if you could put faith in a container!). This entry says that if I have faith the size of a mustard seed I could move mountains. So— how many mustard seeds could I put in a 3 gallon jug?! Probably a LOT! And if it only takes one to move a mountain then it doesn’t sound like I am lacking faith! I may not always exercise it by trusting in God and His leading but I sure don’t think I’m lacking it (and neither are you!)
5. And when I’ve done it “all right” and not caused anyone to sin, been forgiving toward everyone, and exercised my faith entirely in Him, I STILL have nothing to brag about! I’m just doing what God wants me to do. He’s very gracious in my journey and expects me to be the same toward others. That’s my job as a Christian!
Have a great day journeying with Him,
PS If you missed Pastor Myers last night—I’m sorry! What a blessing! Join us tonight @ 7:30 in the church as we continue being blessed by God’s servant.
Forgiveness, Faith, and Service (Luke 17:1-10)