How much faith is enough faith?

In the book, Living a Life That Matters, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote: “Most people are not afraid of dying; they are afraid of not having lived.”

In essence he is saying that what frightens us most is the dread of insignificance; the notion that we will be born, live and die and none of it will matter. We desperately want to live long enough to get it right, to feel we have done something worthwhile with our lives.

Yet if we really want to live, we have to be willing to take risks. We have to be willing to step away from what we feel is certain toward what feels uncertain, which is the essence of faith.
If there is one thing we can always count on when it comes to living by faith, it is that the moment we have an opportunity to show it, fear will show up too. Do you know why? Because all of us have a “comfort zone.”

It’s the arena of life where we feel comfortable and think we know what to expect. We want life to be predictable, and anytime things change and become less predictable, we become more uncomfortable. With that discomfort we find ourselves outside those comfort zones. When that happens, we often run back to the zone, because it’s what we know and what makes us feel secure.

It’s the same thing in the spiritual arena. We all have a “spiritual comfort zone.” It’s the area in which we feel most comfortable trusting God. And when God calls us to go beyond it we get nervous or uncomfortable. We’d prefer that God would just leave us alone so that we can stay put and keep him in our mental box. But God does act according to the convenient mental images we create for him.  

For example, we might feel comfortable talking to church friends about God, but nervous about explaining faith to someone who does not go to church. We might be comfortable talking about past problems now that we’re over them, but struggle with being honest with the present challenges we’re having with a trusted friend. Each of us finds ourselves getting stretched on occasion.

The way to expand our comfort zone is not merely by acquiring more knowledge. We don’t need another article on faith. What we need is to take little steps on what we already know. We need to take little steps or little risks each day and as we do our faith will grow. Big faith comes in small steps.

The misnomer about faith is that in order to do anything great, we have to have a lot of faith. That is a myth. We don’t need a lot of faith; we need enough trust in God to take a first step. That will lead to a second step and then a third and before we know it, we’ll have big faith. Big challenges are met by taking small steps.

How much faith do we need? Not much, just enough to take the first step. In the words of the New Testament, “This trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.”

See you on Sunday!