The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:5-6)
I vividly remember hearing this in church when I was a kid and spending the remainder of Mass trying to move palm branches telekinetically. I’d seen the tiny, yellow, mustardy balls in my mom’s spice rack and in my Oscar Mayer salami, so I figured surely I had at least that much faith.
That Much Faith. Can we quantify faith? Can we “kinda” believe in Jesus? Can we “sorta hope” God will answer our prayers? In terms of faith, does it count to be “almost certain” or “pretty sure?”
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
In Matthew 8:10, Jesus is astonished at the centurion’s “great faith,” but then a few verses later, calls the disciples’ “ye of little faith” (8:26). I believe the way Jesus follows His commentary on the faith of a mustard seed is telling. He offers a lesson on having a servant’s heart, rather than one of entitlement (Luke 17:7-10). And we see this same difference between the disciples and the centurion. The disciples scream, “Lord, save us!” whereas the centurion says, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”
Tying it all together, great faith is displayed when we’re “certain of what we do not see.” When we look upon ourselves with our flawed, human sense of reality, we waver. But in humility, with our spiritual eyes fixed on Jesus, words like kinda, sorta and almost… simply melt away.