July 13th 2010

Moving Mountains

“And Jesus said unto them…If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

Matt 17:20 (KJV)  

Have you ever watched a tiny ant crawling along the ground? How small it is compared with almost everything else around it. Yet the ant remains oblivious to the many dangers that lie on every side, with obstacles casting formidable shadows across its path as if constantly to threaten its very existence.

This little creature appears to takes no account of its own obvious vulnerability, and sees no limitation in its humble frame. Our little insect friend just soldiers on regardless, busily doing what ants are meant to do, as if there were no tomorrow.

No point in telling the puny ant that he is not going to achieve very much in life on account of his relatively insignificant size. He neither hesitates nor falters. He is clearly going somewhere and he is determined he is going to make it. There is work to be done and no time to lose.

Sometimes we feel as if we have very little faith, and worry that this means we are weak and ineffective. But the apostle Paul once said of himself: “when I am weak, then am I strong…” (2 Corinthians 12:10). For him, being weak meant that he could have total reliance on Christ who was his strength. So that, in spite of his own weakness, more would actually be accomplished through him, not less.

“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…” Jesus says, you can move mountains. The ant is one of the smallest and frailest of all creatures. So weak is he that it would hardly take any effort at all on our part to totally crush him. Yet this tiny insect is mighty in deeds, being able to lift up to five times his own weight (e.g. an elephant is only able to lift a fraction of its weight).  you know that each year, the world’s ants move no less than sixteen billion tons of earth? That’s a mountain of earth every year. The inconsequential, tiny ant moves mountains. Perhaps there is a lesson for us here.

Do we feel we are too insignificant to make a difference?  Do we feel our church is too small to impact our local community? Maybe we shouldn’t think too much about the magnitude of the task to be performed or about our own abilities or fitness for that task. Maybe we should simply trust God and proceed in faith—even faith as a grain of mustard seed. We may be surprised what God can accomplish through our meagre efforts.

Heavenly Father, there are times when we feel especially weak and powerless, and we can so easily become discouraged and distracted. Help us to keep looking to your Son, Jesus, who is our true strength, and to trust in him alone; knowing that, for him, nothing is impossible.

Study by Richard Dempsey 

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