Imagine being an apostle of Jesus and watching the things that He did. Imagine walking with Him and witnessing the healings, the miracles, the raising of the dead and the walking on water, and listening to Him constantly talk about faith.
You’d want that faith, wouldn’t you? Who wouldn’t?
And so, you’d probably do the obvious. You’d go to Jesus and say, “I want that. Give me that.”
That’s exactly what the real apostles did.
“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”– Luke 16:5
Sounds like a spiritually enriching prayer, doesn’t it? Almost like a prayer that Jesus would’ve responded to by saying, “Finally, you guys are praying right! Here you go – here is faith.”
Instead, here’s what happens.
“And the Lord answered, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.…”– Luke 17:6
Now we read that and think Jesus was saying, “You guys want your faith increased? Okay. I’ll give you a mustard sized faith and that is going to be enough to do mighty things.”
And so we preach sermons on having mustard sized faith and pray for faith as small as a mustard seed because – well, that’s enough, isn’t it?
I don’t think that’s what Jesus was saying at all though.
I don’t think Jesus was saying, “I’ll give you faith the size of a mustard seed, and that should be enough.”
I think Jesus was saying, “You want your faith increased, which means you consider your faith small. But even if your faith is small – as small as a mustard seed – it’s going to be enough to do mighty things.”
“So why aren’t you doing it?”
So often we think we need God to give us more faith before we can act.
But I think Jesus is saying, “What are you doing with what I’ve given you? Because that’s enough and more to do what you want to do.”
We pray, “Lord, give me a tree.”
And God says, “Here’s a seed. Go plant it.”
But we continue waiting for the tree.
What do we do with the mustard seed that God has given us? Do we exercise it? Or do we say, “Not enough. I need more.”
Because if that’s our posture, then to pray, ‘Increase my faith’, is not a genuine prayer, but rather an attempt to shift the blame on to God.
It’s a way of saying, “I’m not seeing power, because You haven’t given me enough of it.”
It’s a way of saying, “I’m not seeing fruit, because You haven’t given the tree,” while holding a handful of seeds, and standing on rich fertile soil.
Think about it, because this can apply to so much more than faith, can’t it?
If you’re asking God to fill you with love, ask yourself what you are doing with the love He has given you.
If you’re asking God to give you more money, ask yourself if you’ve been using what He has already given you the way He wants you to.
If you’re asking God to bless you more, ask yourself what you’ve been doing with the blessings you already have.
Whatever it is that you are asking God to increase, try and reflect on what you are doing with what He has already given you.
When Jesus fed 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, He didn’t look up to heaven and say, “Father, You haven’t given me enough. Give me more.”
No, instead He looked up and gave thanks. And that’s what fed the 5000.
Jesus is saying we can do that too.
Open your hands. Plant the seed. Watch it grow. And be prepared to get more than you can ever imagine.