Sometime in the last few days I posted the picture on the right below and observed that the mustard seed looked bigger than I remembered. I found some mustard seeds and took my own picture on the left below, so I don’t guess there’s a lot of difference. But they sure are tiny.
I’ve also done some more reading on the issue of hope and faith and I think I’m beginning to understand it a bit. Dave Meurer is a Christian humorist writer (visit him at davemeurer.net) and I read an article he had written several years ago regarding how words mean different things in different cultures. He discussed traveling to Italy and how common words meant different things in Italy and the US. Then he said that is the case when we read God’s words to us.
“For instance, when the New Testament writers used the word ‘hope’ they did not at all mean something like, ‘Well, I hope the Oakland Raiders make it to the Super Bowl this year.’ (Technically, that is not even a hope. It is more like a delusion.) Hope in the Bible is a rock-solid assurance that something promised by God will indeed come to pass. Hope is something you rely on, not something on which you wager an optimistic bet and then cross your fingers.
We have this hope like a sure and firm anchor of the soul” (He 6: 19)
Our hope, then, is fixed; it is a given fact. It is our faith that is the variable. Faith is being sure of our hope (paraphrasing Hebrews 11: 1). We often let troubles and issues affect our faith, but our hope is always there; we just lose sight of it. George Muller said, “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” Hebrews 11: 6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and the He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
I read the following devotion in a book called Streams in the Desert; I felt the contrast in faith was quite remarkable and further showed what little faith I do have.
Back to 1 Cor 13, Paul says faith, hope and love remain, “but the greatest of these is love.” Jesus likewise placed love as the greatest commandment (see Mark 12: 28-34 and Jn 15: 9-17). Jesus said to love each other as He loved us. What has happened to this command? I cannot fathom the kind of hatred that has created such violence in our country. As The Beatles said, “All You Need is Love”.