“And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”
Luke 17:5-10 NKJV
If one endeavors to let the Lord increase their faith, they must hear the word. For Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Furthermore, if one is working hard to spend time in God’s word they ought to be open to receiving what the Spirit speaks, and gladly doing what He asks. If they agree to His calling they consent to the basic principles of Christianity which are laid out in this passage.
The interpretation I am sharing with you has been adapted from a teaching by Pastor Genarino Desteffano of Crossroads Community Church in Vancouver, WA. He identified the experiences a Christian must contend with as such:
I. Thing Upon Thing
We will be charged with accomplishing task upon task, oftentimes another thing will be asked of us before we have finished the first five. In this we ought to be open to observing and carrying out what God would have for us, no matter how rapid the succession.
II. Not Thanked
Whatever you are tasked with, do it without receiving gratitude from the people in your arena. You don’t get thanked for doing your job. Moreover, “whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23). You ought not set your heart to glorify your flesh, but God, “knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance” (Colossians 3:24). Scripture makes it clear that our reward is in heaven from the father, not on earth from man. So be not mortally minded, but do your work in light of eternity.
III. Not Charging Overseer with Harshness
Philippians 2:14 tells us to “Do all things without complaining and disputing.” If that’s the case we need to be mindful of our attitude toward our supervisor, knowing that the way in which we operate serves as a witness for Christ. How perplexing it is to the world when someone does their work thankfully, silently, and diligently, regardless of their treatment. Consider also Jesus’ attitude during His ministry. Was He always thanked and treated fairly for His work? No, on the contrary He was ostracized, ridiculed, and eventually murdered for it. Yet we never saw Him grumble or argue with His lot. Remember your true over seer is the Lord above. You are a servant in His kingdom. Bearing that in mind, be faithful in your toil. Make a positive impact for the kingdom, not a negative one.
IV. Not Being Prideful
Successfully accomplishing the aforementioned tasks is dangerous. It is a miraculous feat to conquer mountains of work without praise or fair treatment day in and day out. Unfortunately we tend to attribute that impressiveness to the wrong source. In our delusion, we think we have done it in our own strength. We become self righteous. We start comparing ourselves to those around us, all the while forgetting that our work ethic is a miraculous feat. Only by the grace of God have we been able to do what we do how we do it. Do not forget that it is through His power, not ours.
V. Christianity 101
All of this is basic Christianity. It’s not being a super Christian, a cut above the rest. It’s how we all should be living. John the Baptist who did indeed live out Christianity 101 is oft quoted as saying “He must increase but I must decrease.” Strive for this, and if you do your result will be an increase in your faith!
For those who are unaware, the plumbing here in Guatemala is not able to handle copious amounts of toilet paper. The waste is put into a bin that is shared between four people. It needs to be emptied daily. As a practical application from this passage I will take out the trash from my room every day for the remainder of my time here.