Littlefaiths! Four times in Matthew's gospel Jesus used that term for the disciples. It's one word in Greek. It is formed by combining a word that means "a small amount" with the word for faith. There is not a profound theological teaching there. It is simple; the disciples had a small amount of faith. And Jesus wanted more for them. Jesus calls them Littlefaiths in the sermon on the mount when he was teaching about not worrying about material things. Once when they were at sea in a storm and afraid, he called them, Littlefaiths! And once when Jesus came walking on the sea to them and Peter jumped out of the boat to meet him, and began to sink. Jesus called him, Littlefaith. Hardly, seems fair. He did take a few steps on the water! The final time is in chapter 16 and it looks like a classic case of the disciples just not getting it. The Message translates the "little faith" word there as "runt believers". That's the point, isn't it? Jesus does not say to his followers that they are faith-less or without faith -there was a word for that if that was what he meant to say. They had faith alright, they were on board with Jesus, it was just small. It was barely enough and there was so much more to explore. He didn't want them to be satisfied with what they had. They had to trade up. I can relate to that. I may be an "older believer" but I still feel like a "runt believer" at times, holding on to what I have attained rather than trading up. It feels safer that way.
I've been reading Bob Goff's book, Love Does, during Lent. It's a good read and a faith -expanding one. It's for "runt believers" like me. In the chapter I read today, Goff writes about the game called Bigger and Better. Perhaps, you played it with your youth group. I have. But, I never played it like his son Rich played it. Rich and his buddies started out with a dime and went door to door trading up. What will you trade me for this dime, and then you take what you got in trade and trade it for something bigger and better. The winner is the one who returns with the biggest and best trade. Rich won. Rich began with a dime and ended up with a pickup truck! Not bad. Goff's point is about faith. He writes: "Christian people say Jesus stands at the door and knocks. I agree. But there's more. He wants us to stand at the door of his house and knock, too. And when he opens the door he wants us to bring all the faith we have to him, even if it's only a dime's worth. And he promises he will trade up with us. Because he is what we have the chance to trade for. And what we'll have to give in exchange for knowing him is everything we've accumulated during our lives and are standing on the porch holding on to."
What did Rich do with the pick up truck? He drove it to a church in town and tossed them the keys. He traded up.