“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Give us more faith!’ He replied, ‘Suppose you have faith as small as a mustard seed. Then you can say to this mulberry tree, “Be pulled up. Be planted in the sea.” And it will obey you’.” (Luke 17:5-6 NIrV)
This inquiry from the disciples comes ion the heals of Jesus’ teaching on correcting sin and offering forgiveness (Luke 17:1-4) We all can attest to the difficulty in forgiving someone when we have been hurt. It’s our human nature to need time to heal and for many of us, a desire to let the offender stew for a while. There is still some bitterness and perhaps even a sinful desire on our part to get even or at least hope they get theirs. Let’s be real! Yet there is a subtle change from verse one to verse 5.
Here in verse five, Jesus addresses His apostles (not simply His disciples). So when His closest followers ask for more faith, the Lord responds with what seems to me as a challenge. It seems as though He is challenging their degree of obedience. As they ask for more (don’t we always want God to give us more?), Jesus replied that it’s not the size of the faith, but the obedience of the ones who believe. If we would simply USE WHAT WE HAVE!
If we really trusted the One we place our faith in, how much great would our obedience be? Would we tithe? If we do tithe, would we tithe with joy and even more so, give more than our minimum? Would we make ourselves available to serve more often or hoard out time. As usual, it’s not what God gives us…it’s what we give in return. We have all the faith we’ll ever need the moment we are saved by the blood of Christ!
Jesus seems to be teaching that very little faith is required in order to accomplish incredible things. As our obedience to the One we place our faith in grows our power to do His work increases. We trust Him more. We believe He’ll do what he says. We realize it’s not our faith, but our obedience. If He is our Lord, then we are His…that’s right…His slaves…His servants. Do servants have a right to not obey? Would they dare ask the master for more? Why then, do we who serve the King of kings and Lord of lords, dare to disobey and then ask for more?
Faith is an issue here, but it is not the need for more faith on the part of the disciples as it is to remember the basic principles on which faith operates. Faith operates in the realm of grace, and grace should produce gratitude. This gratitude is the disciple’s motive for forgiving others. Those who are forgiven much are expected (on the basis of grace) to forgive. (Bob Deffinbaugh, Putting Faith In Perspective, Copyright ©1996-2006, Biblical Studies Press, reprinted with permission from www.bible.org)
Faith operates in grace and that grace should cause us to respond with an attitude of gratitude and obedience! Lord, help us to USE WHAT WE HAVE…increase my obedience!