Friday, September 30, 2016
Watch your step
Little things can have a powerful impact.
If you have ever stepped on a Lego, you know this.
As Jesus speaks of faith in the gospel lesson this week, he focuses in on the little things:
faith the size of a tiny worthless weed seed,
mundane daily tasks,
the nobodies (slaves) who toil without even a word of thanks.
Taken on their own the little things seem insignificant. Like nothing.
But the walk of faith is not a solitary one.
The ways of faith cannot be private.
The life of faith could never be lived alone.
And when it comes to faith, the little things show their power in relationship: the seed and the soil, the rebuke and the offender, the forgiveness and the repentant sinner.
But also, the Lego and the foot…
So take this lesson as both a word of encouragement and a word of warning. For just like those tiny little Legos, words and actions can build up, creating new, wonderful things. Or, they may cause incredible pain and lead to stumbling. As Jesus says, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come!”
And what could Jesus possibly mean by occasions for stumbling?
Looking back at Luke here are a few possibilities:
Ignoring the poor.
Refusing to forgive.
Exalting one’s self.
Treating certain people (the disabled, the sick, the sinners, the tax collectors, the foreigners) as if they are worthless.
Using the law to justify one’s self and demonize others.
Blaming people for their misfortune.
How many of those have you stumbled over, just today?
But wait, there’s more.
Jesus makes it very clear that it’s not just ourselves we have to worry about. We also have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters—that is, anyone claiming to be a follower of Christ.
We are to rebuke them when they have strayed, but also, we are to forgive them when they turn back.
Just think on that for a moment.
No wonder the disciples cry out, “Increase our faith!”