Thursday, August 14, 2014

What Does it Mean to Move Mountains?

In the Gospel of Matthew (and elsewhere) we hear Jesus state, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17.20) When was the last time you saw ANYONE moving a mountain “by faith” instead of dynamite or bulldozers? Did Christ mean something different?

St John Chrysostom offers some insight to understanding this claim of faith. “Where did they remove a mountain? I would make this answer, that they did far greater things, having raised up innumerable dead. For it is not at all the same thing to remove a mountain, and to remove death from a body. And certain Saints after them, far inferior to them, are said actually to have removed mountains, when necessity called for it.”

If the Apostles didn’t move mountains, it wasn’t for their lack of ability, but the lack of any NEED to move a mountain. Too often we hear this particular faith challenge as license to demand any particular miracle from God, and then we blame Him for not acting upon our demand. The ability to move mountains has been given to ANYONE whose faith is strong enough, but I’ve personally never met anyone who had that particular need.

And that is where genuine faith is critical. When we have genuine faith in God, even the smallest amount, we will know our real needs and focus upon those rather than so many other desires we treat as needs. As we hear during every Liturgy in honor of the Theotokos, “One thing is needful.” Forget about moving mountains; move your heart to be with Christ.

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