What About Those Mountains?

by Ted Kyle

Ted KyleYou know the ones I mean: the mountains like the one Jesus spoke about in Matthew 17:20: "Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

There aren't many choices when it comes to verses like that (and similar verses such as Mark 11:22-24, 1 John 3:22, etc.): We wrestle with them, or we hurry past them, secretly wishing they were not in the Holy Writ. But there they are: a disturbing challenge lying in wait for the unwary reader.

Our Lord challenges our faith, just as He challenged His disciples' faith. What about those mountains? Well, grapple with our Savior's teaching with me a bit: What is the lesson we are to learn?

Does Jesus really intend us to leave gaping holes in the ground, while causing tsunamis where the flying mountains land? I really don't think so. His words are meant to grow our faith.

All right, then, what is the nature of these mountains? I am convinced that the mountains Jesus spoke of will be spiritual mountains-challenges to reach out toward goals of service, of ministry to our God and King.

I am equally convinced such mountains cannot represent needs or wants in the physical realm. Certainly our Father desires us to petition Him to meet our physical needs, and He promises to do so-in Matthew 6:33-34, for example: "For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Has verse 34 really sunk deep into your consciousness? It says that if we will make our business doing God's business, He will make His business doing our business. We work for Him and He works for us. That's a faith-growing concept!)

Why am I so thoroughly convinced, both positively and negatively, that the mountains must be spiritual ones? Context, for one: In Matthew 17:20, our Lord was engaged in ministry and teaching about ministry. This is equally true of Mark 11:22-24 and 1 John 3:22. Then, choice, for a second foundation: We choose to serve our Lord and His people. We do not choose to be in want, or to be sick. We do not choose the troubles that come our way. And for a third reason, experience: this is the way the Lord has led me for the nearly forty years since I met Him.

So for me, the question of mountains comes to this: What does God want us to do that we are resisting because we don't believe we're big enough for-that our faith isn't quite up to?

Personalize that: Is there something you've dreamed of doing for God, but dismissed as an impossible dream? Do you believe God put it in your heart? Is it something that would glorify Him above all? Would it grow and fulfill the ministry of your inner man? Have you really prayed about it [cf. James 1:5]? Are you sure God (and not some other voice [cf. 1 John 4:1]) has put this in your heart?

When you are sure that God is behind it and only the smallness of your faith holds you back, reach out and embrace your dream! "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" Mark 11:24).

And if it would take a miracle-well, that's in God's capable hands. Right?

Ted Kyle is managing editor of Pulpit Helps magazine.

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