“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 will obey you’” (Luke 17:5).
I was a bit taken aback by this verse when I first read it. I’d been asking God to increase my faith for quite some time and this verse was puzzling to me. There is nothing in the text to indicate that Jesus gave the apostles the increase of faith they desired. Instead, Jesus tells them “if you have faith as a mustard seed… [all things will be possible]” (see also Mat 17:20). Jesus’ response indicates that what the apostles needed was not an increased measure of faith, what they needed was to do something with the faith they already had. Romans 12:3 tells us that each man has been given a measure of faith. Faith is not increased through prayer, it’s increased through action. John Wimber once said that Faith is spelled “R-I-S-K.” If we want to increase our faith, we must be willing to take more risks. We must be willing to step out in what little faith we have and start looking for people to pray for and situations to pray about. We must be willing to leave behind our comfort zone and give God an opportunity to do something great through us. If we want to operate more fully in the gifts of the spirit, we must be willing to exercise those giftings now so that they might be strengthened from consistant use. We must refuse to be held back by the fear of failure and, as Randy Clark puts it, be willing to fail in order to succeed (1).
“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. He who had received five talents came and brought five other talents… His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.’ He also who had received two talents came and… His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.’ Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord… I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ But his lord answered and said to him… ‘You wicked and lazy servant… you ought to have [at least] deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.’ (Mat 25:14-29)
Investment involves a risk taken. But lack of risk will always leave us in want.