As they passed by early in the morning, they noticed that the fig-tree was withered up from the very roots. Then Peter recollected what had occurred. “Look, Rabbi,” he exclaimed, “the fig-tree which you doomed is withered up!” “Have faith in God!” replied Jesus. “I tell you that if any one should say to this hill ‘Be lifted up and hurled into the sea!’, without ever a doubt in his mind, but in the faith that what he says will be done, he would find that it would be. And therefore I say to you ‘Have faith that whatever you ask for in prayer is already granted you, and you will find that it will be.’ And, whenever you stand up to pray, forgive any grievance that you have against any one, that your Father who is in Heaven also may forgive you your offenses.” (Mark 11:20-25)
The pastor was insistent that his finance man build “faith” into the church’s budget. There were new staffing priorities to be met. And what kind of faith would be applied? By using the savings from elsewhere in the budget!
It’s easier to preach faith than to live it. Many of us have been taught about the power of our words, and how we must speak faith and believe for miracles. But when it comes times to really live by faith rather than only positive words, we’re too quick to retreat to things we know will work.
The one way we know that we’re living by and in faith is when there is no alternative. Those who have no other way to live know this. The greatest stories of faith and miracles come from places where there is no earthly alternative. As Christians accumulate wealth, it’s too easy to forget real faith and try to substitute “powerful words” for an attitude where we know that we would be nothing without God’s power and care in our lives.
And note the last sentence: we must forgive others when we pray. When we complain about our prayers going “unanswered” and the heavens seem like brass, ask this question: was the brass poured in our foundry of unforgiveness?