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Last Sunday's Sermon: The Mustard Seed and More!

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The Gospel
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 plowing 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!'

The Sermon

Mustard and more

All of us are familiar with the reference in Luke to the faith of a mustard seed. Jesus is simply telling us that we need to increase our faith. I remember reading many years ago that if you did have the faith of a mustard seed you could move mountains. The author suggested however that if you had that kind of spiritual energy, you would also know why the mountain was there and you would see no need to move it.

While writing this sermon I decided to test myself. I chose to start small by sitting at my desk for a full two minutes staring at a pencil and trying to move it without actually touching it. It never budged. A pencil is much much smaller than a mountain so I must have a long way to go.

Lets look at the other half of this reading. Jesus was using the context of slaves and owners in order to make a point about our relationship to God. What Jesus is saying is that God has expectations of us. God expects us to love our neighbor and even when we are tired from working in a field all day there is still more to do. There will always be more to do. We Christians should know that we are doing God's work and we do it not for some kind of reward whether it be praise here on earth or advancement in the heavenly kingdom. No, we do it because we selflessly know the Master expects it of us.

Last Tuesday morning, Sherry and I were sitting in the living room after a very satisfying coffee and pastry at The Porch, the new coffee shop in town. The phone rang and I asked Sherry to get it. She looked at the caller ID and said, “That's strange, it's a call from a local motel.” My immediate response was “don't answer it.” I said that it was probably someone who was given a nights stay at the motel and now wanted money. I am always cautious about giving money to strangers. Ten minutes later we got a second call. We didn't answer it either.

After that Sherry and I went about our busy lives. She did her chores and got the cats ready to go to their vet appointment in Corydon. I ate breakfast and decided to take some things to recycling and some brush to the landfill. The whole time I was doing this I had that guy at the motel in the back of my head. Finally, after unloading the brush I couldn't stand it any longer. I drove to the motel and asked the desk clerk if she knew of someone who might be using the motel phone to call churches.

She paused and then said, “Yes, he's been making calls all morning and I am about to call the police to help me get rid of him.” I told her I wanted to give him some money and would she mind giving it to him when he came down from his room. She hesitated but finally agreed to do it.

The reason I am telling you this is because many of us struggle with what to do in these kinds of situations. In my own way I prayed on the situation and did what I did. I think that is what we all must do, We need to ask God's guidance when we are faced with a problem involving our Christian principles. Many times I have given away money and regretted doing it because the money was not used in the way it had been requested.

I do not know what happened to the guy. What I do know is that I met a very nice desk clerk and she and I had a good conversation about my cousins Leo and Kay and my spirits were lifted because I realized how blessed I am to have such wonderful relatives.

I didn't really need the $20.

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