And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” -Luke 17:5 NASB
How would you answer the question, “What do you need most?” If you had the opportunity to make a request for something that you felt you had need of, what would you ask for? There are a number of possible responses with each being dictated by the circumstances we are facing. Some might have a great need for improved health, while others might see themselves in need of better housing, and others might even see a need for something as basic as food for their survival. What do you need? If you didn’t need any of the previously mentioned things, would you perhaps say that you had need of nothing?
It’s interesting to note that on at least two different cases the scriptures show people pleading with Jesus to help with their lack of faith. In one instance it was father seeking healing for his son (Mark 9:24), in the other it was none other than Jesus’ own disciples (Luke 17:5). The request of the disciples came on the heels of teaching by Jesus on not being a stumbling block to others and the need to be always forgiving. Those closest to Jesus, knowing how difficult these behaviors would be, turned to Him, seeking what they believed they needed in order to be forgiving and to be less likely to cause a brother or sister to stumble.
Jesus proceeded to teach two other areas that clearly need great faith be effective. One was belief that great things can be done with God’s power. Imagine commanding a tree to be uprooted and cast into the sea, and having it obey! What other things could we dream of that can be done? Genesis 11:6 seems to indicate that the possibilities are endless. The other teaching was that we are not to expect praise or thanks for serving God. This goes against the general mindset of our society in which we do things for the reward that comes either in the form of awards or praise. Serving God is something that we do simply because we ought to. Not because we seek His favor but because his grace (unmerited favor) has already been extended. We love Him (serve) because He first loved (served) us. These things cannot be done without faith. Let me ask again, “What is it that you need most?”
Copyright © 2007, Nolan P. Rutter