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Catholic Teacher blog: Movers and makers

Nathan Ahearne  |  31 October 2018

Teachers are busy professionals, running from one lesson to the next with a sip of cold coffee in between, swept up in the barrage of student requests and the endless demands of teaching. Most days in the classroom are brilliant, our lessons go smoothly, we see students progress and feel a sense of pride in our work, but sometime things go wrong.

We realise that we forgot to book the laptops we just handed out, the paperwork for the excursion was due last week and we still need to have that difficult conversation with a parent. When unexpected difficulties arise for teachers who are already stretched to capacity, we are tempted to make a mountain out of a molehill and blow things out of perspective. On a good day, we see challenges for what they are and navigate our way around them, but occasionally our blinkers make the problem seem impossible to overcome.

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus tells his disciples that “if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” He says they can ‘remove mountains’ if they have faith in God.


Don Schwager explains that the “expression to ‘remove mountains’ was a common Jewish phrase for removing difficulties. A wise teacher who could solve difficulties was called a mountain remover”. Each of us need these people in our lives as we face those things we don’t believe can come true or can happen. At these times, it feels that we need a miracle to make it through. For all the talk of miracles that occur in the Gospels, this is not about walking on water or feeding 5000 people, but overcoming the challenges and limitations, the mountains, that make things seem impossible.

The mountains of doubt or fear are problems that we need help with. We take these problems to prayer and these are the miracles that we see happen if we have faith to believe in them. Jesus uses the analogy of the mustard seed for faith. A mustard seed is one of the smallest seeds in nature but if properly nurtured, it grows into one of the biggest trees.


No matter how little faith we may have, it can grow into something fruitful and beyond anything we can imagine. Jesus is asking us, as his disciples, not to give up and to continue believing in miracles even when our outlook seems hopeless or when it feels like our prayers don’t work, it is in those times that we need to trust God more than ever. When the mountains appear too tall to climb or the waves look too big to walk on, we need to trust that God will move them and open new horizons for us.

Robert D. Luginbill notes that Paul makes reference to this same sentiment in Corinthians 1 13:2 where he speaks of “faith to move mountains” and asks if our faith strong enough to believe that God will do the impossible for us?


He says, “we are not being asked to believe that God will do absolutely anything for us no matter what it might be… rather we are being told that God will do absolutely everything for us that we need and that we ask for in faith, even if we don't know really know what to ask for (Rom.8:26). We see this expressed by Unspoken in their song Miracle, “you've got to speak to the impossible” and “pray till your breakthrough breaks through the ceiling, keep on believing”.

Lord, help us to trust that you have a plan and that you will work a miracle to bring us hope and show us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. May we have the strength to believe and we ask that you remain by our side so that we will be able to conquer every mountain that comes our way and be movers rather than makers.


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