‘Here, see if you can get the lid off. I doubt you can, it’s stuck’. I take the bottle from her and, with a grunt and grimace, slacken it off and hand it back saying, ‘O ye of little faith!’ This phrase is what Jesus said when chiding his disciples in times of doubt or fear.
From this we might conclude that Jesus is telling his followers that they need to have ‘big’ faith. This is the line taken by a number who have claimed to be faith healers. It is, however, not the size of the faith that is important. Elsewhere, Jesus says that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, which is tiny, then we may say to a mountain, ‘Go jump in the lake’, and it will. I don’t think for a minute that Jesus wants us to become landscapers on a grand scale, but here’s the important thing: we need to ask the question ‘faith in what or, better still, faith in WHOM?’ That’s the point.
Therefore, when you hear a person say, ‘Well, you’ve got to have faith, haven’t you?’ they are not reflecting well the Christian message. They generally mean that we need an optimistic outlook as though faith is an end in itself. Christianity does not propose having faith in faith but rather faith in a person, namely Jesus. An illustration may help us here…
Two ladies travel on a transatlantic flight. One is particularly anxious about the whole venture, not having flown before. The other is a seasoned traveller and has confidence in the integrity of the aircraft and the competence of the pilot. They land safely in New York and disembark. One, we might say, had little faith whilst the other had more. It was, however, the aircraft and the pilot that got both of them to their desired destination; all they were required to do was get on board.
Jesus tells us that we should view life as a journey with a destination. He invites us to travel his route to a desirable destination (heaven). Do you have little or big faith to take up the invitation? We simply need enough faith to get on board and then trust him as our pilot (or, if you don’t like flying, sea captain!).