At Work

The Big Impact of Little Faith

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Several years ago, I was fully engaged in a fresh entrepreneurial project. We had raised substantial funds, assembled a talented team, and jumped out of the gate with great gusto. Soon, all the typical stressors started hitting us, and I wondered, “Is our little bit of faith, our big expressions of love, and our passion for the kingdom mission making any real difference? Really?” 

I bet you’ve wondered too. Maybe it was about your quick phone call or text to check in with a client. Or that little bit of extra financial investment. Or even those small but steady steps of faithful care for a coworker. All of these things were just little holy risks in response to God’s whispers and nudges toward a new opportunity.

Jesus’ View on Little Faith

Christ actually saw “little faith” from two vantage points. In Luke 12:28 (ESV), Jesus aimed to squash anxiety: “But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!” 

From one point of view, Jesus was saying, “Quit your little heart habits of jumbled, tangled worry. Instead, deeply trust our Father’s great provision!” 

But ponder Christ’s other point of view. In Jesus’ teaching, “little faith” is not simply admonished and discouraged. When leveraged to the positive, Christ encourages little faith. Seed-size faith can work wonders in his heavenly kingdom. 

In Matthew 17 (ESV), the disciples were puzzled over their inability to cast out a demon. They asked Jesus why. In verse 20, Jesus responded: “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

We should all take heart. If such a faith conundrum was true for the original apprentices of Jesus, it should not surprise us when we experience our own faith struggles.

Jesus spoke of their “little faith,” but his issue was not really their quantity of faith. Instead, the issue was lack of quality. They had feeble faith; it was superficial, lacking solid substance. We know quality of faith was Jesus’ focus, because here in the same breath, he praises just a small quantity, like a mustard seed

If Jesus was not referring to the size of faith, what was lacking in quality? Apparently, the disciples’ focus had drifted toward their own ability rather than God’s power. Their hearts and minds were not fully tuned into and trusting of God’s capability. In fact, their question reveals their mistaken focus. They were puzzled as to “Why couldn’t we . . . ?” instead of fully relying on Christ and his power. Perhaps the disciples were acting like faith was a magic trick. They may have even been caught up in working for their own glory. 

Your Little Faith for Big Endeavors

Tiny, mustard-seed-size faith can move mountains. Here is Jesus’ vivid word picture, proverbial for overcoming great challenges. Jesus did not say, “You need giant faith!” No, tiny faith will do. Jesus’ followers need true faith, rightly rooted with deep, personal trust that heartily expects God to work! For all our endeavors—big and small—he calls us to develop more robust, substantive faith. 

As Jesus’ disciples today, we need growing, flourishing faith in the face of our everyday opportunities and obstacles. What are your mountains right now? Tiny faith that’s growing and flourishing can make all the difference in moving them. Consider how.

Four Mountain-Moving “Little Seeds”

First little seed: Keep the power of God fully in focus. 

Our God is so big, so strong, and so mighty. That’s why the tiniest faith works. Relinquish razzmatazz, magical thinking. “Nothing will be impossible” must not be twisted to mean anything you pray for will happen. It does not mean you’ve got magical power to make the Himalayas go poof or become portable. God’s power is our trustworthy source of confidence in every endeavor.

Second little seed: Grow your faith with constant prayer. 

Prayer unlocks, reveals, and quickens our faith. Our real-time, daily, hourly prayers draw us into an attitude of dependence and thorough trust. We get our minds off ourselves and more fully reliant on our all-powerful God. Prayer empowers us to deal effectively with both difficult situations and thrilling opportunities.

Third little seed: Rehearse King Jesus’ character and purposes amidst all your little, ordinary tasks. 

Historic author and spiritual leader Brother Lawrence spoke of “forming a habit of conversing with God continually,” and organizing all our actions “that they be little acts of communion with God.” Even doing the dishes can be done in fellowship with God. Think on it: every mundane moment can take on transcendence when you recall King Jesus’ character and purposes. 

Doing dishes can motivate us to thank God for family and friends plus pray in specific ways on their behalf. Like food on dishes that fill loved ones’ bellies, we can ask for God’s blessing, wisdom, and strength to fill their souls. Seemingly little, everyday tasks can morph into big, faith-filled opportunities for mountain-moving prayers. 

Fourth little seed: Expect God to work in bigger ways, even when your faith seems small.

Too often we readily diminish our expectations of God’s power to work. We’re too quick to leave hope in the basement. Let’s focus with higher and more holy anticipation. When’s the last time you dared to ask and believe God for something big?

Are you ready to express a little more faith this week? Why not take on one new, faith-filled endeavor? Big or little, be bold with it! 

Pour a little extra time into just one person some afternoon. Serve humbly and diligently by doing one tiny task no one else will see. Dive into one new, focused arena that expresses the Father’s heart. Share his compassion, grace, mercy, and love with a client or coworker.

Trust God to work through your little, faith-full seeds!

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