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!'" Luke 17:5-10
I think folks often mistake honor and power for the mark of God's blessing and presence when in fact it is the folks in the kitchen, the people serving the dinner, the laborer in the field who understands the heart of God. Bearing one another's burdens is very hard, cleaning up after others is hard work and singing joyfully when the tears flow is painful. And my experience is that God is closest when it is not about me, when I am supporting and loving others. There God's true blessings are found.
Jesus' disciples are cranky and exhausted. They plead for more faith and he tells them basically to get back to work. He urges them to find their faith in their service, as they give away love they will find living streams of faith. This is hard for us to hear, as it was then, it is now. We want our just desserts, we want the rewards of our hard work. And we are invited to see, in our exhaustion and crankiness, our weariness and despair, God calling us to renewed work for love will blossom as we live and serve others.
Today, I ask God to help me not withdraw but go deeper. May we not seek reward but more service, trusting that God will find us in the field. Love will find us and renew us again as we give ourselves away.
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.