And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” Luke 17:1-10
I have noticed a common behavior among many of us and it happens in my family quite often. I call it the "yes, but" response. When asked to do something, we respond with our lack. Yes, I would be happy to do that but I don't have a car. An excuse why we're inadequate for the job, why there is not enough time, faith or means. It is often not the lack of anything but rather an excuse to wheedle out of something. And sometimes it is fear. The fear that we are not able to do what we're asked and we are afraid of failure.
Jesus is instructing his disciples about their lives together. He speaks of forgiveness and they ask for more faith. He tells them they need to trust what they have been given, to use what they have been given and fully take on the role that has been entrusted to them. They are fearful as we are. And Jesus tells us all that we come move mountains and huge mulberry trees, and forgive others over and over again on the little faith we have. Our task is to be faithful servants who, putting one foot in front of the other, go forward trusting that God will supply the strength, the love, the faith and the forgiveness.
Today, I ask God to help me employ the faith I have been given. Let us trust the love, forgiveness and faith we have been blessed with and serve the world in God's name. May we be grateful for our faith and for our roles of servants. May we let go of fear and accept the tasks we have before us. May we forgive one another, over and over again, so that love and compassion might flourish around us. And may we lose the excuses and move forward for the sake of others, trusting God for the needs of today.