Parking Lots & Mountains

Read: Matthew 17:14-21

The parking lot at our church was recently repaved and striped for parking spaces.  That reminded me of this classic sermon illustration that points us to the mountain moving faith that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 17:14-21.  The story is about a congregation in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains who had built a new church and sanctuary on a certain piece of land that they had recently attained.  

The story goes like this…

Ten days before the new church was to open, a local building inspector informed the pastor that the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building.  Until the church doubled the size of the lot, they would not be able to use the new church and sanctuary. Unfortunately, the church with this undersized lot had used every inch of their land except the mountain against which it had been built.  In order to have more parking they would need to move the mountain out of their backyard.

The pastor encouraged prayer and faith for a miracle from God in order to see a resolution to this problem come forth.  After one particular prayer meeting that lasted until 10:00 pm the pastor closed with a final amen and assured everyone that they would open the church on a certain date in the not so distant future.  He said, “God has been faithful to us before and I believe He will be faithful this time too!”

The very next morning as he was working in his study there came a loud knock on the door.  As he opened the door he saw a construction foreman who removed his hat and said, “Excuse me pastor, I am from a nearby construction company in the next county over.  We are building a huge shopping complex and we need a lot of fill dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that hill behind your church? We’ll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave and stripe all the exposed area free of charge if we can begin work right away.  The church was able to be opened and dedicated on the planned date.

That story reminds me of the many parables that Jesus told in the gospels.  If he had told this one it would have been about having mountain moving faith that he speaks of in Matthew 17.  Many of his parables were not actual occurrences but told a story to teach and instruct people about their faith and their relationship with God and others. Perhaps this story can encourage you to have faith in God for the things that you pray for, hope for, and experience in life. 

Make it Personal:  What mountain is standing in front of you this week?  Take it to Jesus and proclaim your faith in his power to move it, heal it, change it, increase it, or whatever else needs to happen.

 Have a blessed week, Pastor Glen Rhodes