4 Steps to Achieving an Increase in Faith

**This was orginally a sermon [Original title: Why the Mustard Seed?] and was first given in May of 2005. It has been updated here.

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

7 “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:5-10 ESV, emphasis added)

Jesus didn’t pick the mustard seed because he was trying to tell us that we could get away with minimal faith or how little faith we need to get by with. Unfortunately, this is the way that I hear some too often talk about the parable of the mustard seed. Jesus was trying to tell us that the reason we don’t have the kind of faith that we should is because our priorities are all messed up.

During those first weeks after 9/11 there were a lot of interviews given. I remember a former chief of the NYFD who said that the only act of courage a firefighter ever made was taking his oath to serve. Everything else was in the line of duty. In many ways, we should be like that.

God cannot increase our faith when we are unable, or unwilling, to do what is already expected of us. Are any of you commended and thanked for fulfilling the minimum requirements of your job. Being appreciated is all well and good. However, we should not feel slighted when we are not thanked for doing what we signed up to do and no more.

Jesus tells the apostles that if they would have a growing faith, they would be able to tell a tree to pull up its own roots and jump in the ocean that it would do it. But then he goes and tells this very interesting story. Jesus was saying that we have to live out the design of our lives. The mustard seed does not question what it’s here to do. It just does it. The faith of a mustard seed has more to do with fulfilling the design, the purpose that God has created you for.

There are two points that Jesus makes here and I have two questions.

  1. FIRST POINT: Jesus tells us what kind of faith we have at our disposal.
    • First question: what is keeping us from having this kind of faith right now?
  2. SECOND POINT: We don’t understand the responsibility(ies) that are ours as the servants of God.
    • Second question: Why don’t we understand our responsibilities as God’s servants?
      1. The short answer is in verse 9.

4 steps to achieving an increase in faith

  1. Have the Faith of a Mustard Seed.
    • Believe that you have everything you need to do what God wants you to do
  2. Understand the Requirements
    • Get to know what is expected of you
  3. Don’t Come into Work Expecting a Break.
    • The job will be done when we get to heaven
  4. Being a Servant can be a Thankless Job.
    • Do the will of the master without expecting you reward here.
    • Jesus said when we go to meet Him in heaven that is when he will say well done good and faithful servant.

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