17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
17:6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
17:7 “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’?
17:8 Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’?
17:9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded?
17:10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'”
This question that the disciples asked Christ was done so because of a feeling of inadequacy to live up the standard of faith that Christ was calling them to live by. In the following verses, Christ spoke to them in a parable that would help explain what it meant to be a servant of Christ and to live so by faith. The point is that we cannot live out our lives as servants of Christ without relying heavily on God’s strength to make us adequate enough to do His work. Without Christ daily leading and guiding us, our own efforts would be futile.
Jesus is not meaning to discourage His disciples. He is however making them aware that as followers of Christ, we are also servants of Christ. Our faith is what leads us to do God’s work without any means of hesitation or expectation to be rewarded for our work. Serving God means doing it without the attitude of humility and with a joyful heart. Our lives are to reflect Him and we are strive hard to show others who Christ is by how we live each day.
Although Christians have been promised heavenly rewards for their deeds and service, God offers this not out of a sense of obligation as if we were his employees, but rather out of a sense of graciousness. But why the stiff words from Jesus towards His disciples? Jesus was most likely tweaked at the disciple’s lack of gumption. By gumption I mean that the issue wasn’t their amount of faith, it was their lack of putting that faith to work. They were, as the unworthy servant was, just doing their given duty; the bare minimum.
As servants of the Lord today we aught to be careful just going through the motions of being a Christian. For what good is a solder going into battle if he or she is not prepared to sacrifice everything and go into battle full-tilt? Jesus is not looking for wishy-washy, 1-day-a-week Christians. He wants followers who are motivated and walk in the faith they were given.
Do not be as the disciples were. Have courage and spirit. Walk boldly in the faith you have.
[Featured image from www.christianglobe.com]