You can read about the following event in Mark 11.
The day before had been big. I mean BIG.
First, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and was greeted by thousands of people, who waved their palm branches, laid down their cloaks in a kind of red carpet treatment, and shouted their allegiance to their next king.
Then Jesus entered the temple courtyard and chased the liars and cheats who swindled people in the name of God. The people cheered again that their champion overturned the tables of the moneychangers and drove out the overpriced livestock.
Could the disciples even sleep that night? If they did, what might they have dreamed about? The magnitude of possibilities must have been almost frightening.
And maybe that was a problem.
You know what they talked about the next morning? A fig tree.
Jesus had cursed it the day before for not having produced its fruit and by the next morning it had shriveled and died. “Wow,” they marveled. “Look at what you did, Jesus.”
That’s what they wanted to talk about? A dying fig tree?
Not the crowds. Not the showdown with the temple officials. A tree.
Jesus said, “THAT what impresses you? You’re going to see and do much bigger things. One day you’ll be able to level mountains if you have enough faith.”
I think the problem most of us have with such a sweeping promise is that we don’t actually want to move mountains. Doing the big things requires commitment on our part (that’s part of the faith).
We’d rather focus on fig trees. Little stuff. Things that we can fit in our budget and spare time (whenever that is).
Faith to move mountains requires a shift in commitment and the calendar. It requires thought and imagination. It requires people to work together (that’s why in the next sentence Jesus talked about forgiveness.).
But moving mountains does something for us. It keeps us from being bored. It gives us a purpose. And perhaps we get satisfaction in knowing that we’re participating in something bigger than ourselves.
What would you rather do? Move a mountain or curse a dying fig tree?