Luke 17 v 6. “He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard see, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.”
When the disciples heard how demanding the duties of a true disciple really were, they were overwhelmed – as we are from time to time. We will never make it, we say to ourselves, the standards are just too high. The disciples said “Increase our faith”. Being a true follower of Jesus was more than they had bargained for. But if it is true that we are all going to cross over and that in turn means a new kind of lifestyle, then indeed we can all feel defeated before we have begun – but only if we are left to ourselves.
But Jesus replies by pointing out what a world-shattering power faith is. Faith as small as a mustard seed could uproot a tree and plant it even in the sea. Of course, the mulberry tree illustration is just that, an illustration. Nobody is ever going to actually do it. But Jesus was pointing out that the weakest among us may leave results for the Kingdom that we cannot imagine. A little word here, the promise of prayer there and who knows what the consequences may be in somebody’s life. Christian history is full of the most amazing things accomplished by the most unlikely people who dared, even in their small way, to trust God in some matter.
But after reminding them of this privilege and possibilities in regard to faith, he goes on to remind them that no matter how important they may one day come to be, they are to remember that they are only servants of the most high King.
We can never be satisfied with ourselves, or think that we have worked hard enough for God. We can never get to that point where we feel we have done enough and deserve a break. We should remember that we can never put God in our debt by serving him. When we have done all he has asked us to do, it is what we were honour-bound to do anyway.
This is not meant to convey that God has no feelings and expects miserable, joyless slave-like service from us. Rather it is to remember that He has done the greatest thing for us in Christ Jesus. We can never pay Him back or in any way earn any merit for our salvation. We are forever in His debt. But His service is always joy because it is a way we say ‘thank you’ for His magnificent Grace to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.