At one place in St. Luke’s gospel the apostles beseech the Lord with the simple words, “Increase our faith” (17:5). Everything God gives us is a gift and thus the apostles are simply asking to receive more of the same, that is more faith. Yet we notice as the gospel narrative continues that Christ does not increase their faith. Instead, He says, “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.”
It’s interesting that the Lord doesn’t tell them to pray for more faith but He tells them that have been with Him and have heard Him speak and work miracles “If you have faith….”. It’s actually a very good question considering the words of St. Paul the Apostle who says, “faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). In other words, have they even been listening to Him speak all this time? The Lord is not telling them to use the little faith they have, rather He is asking if they even have that much.
Additionally, in reading those few verses from Luke’s gospel which follow the Lord is also asking them a question which can very well apply to us. That is, what kind of faith do you have? Namely, in verses 7-10 He asks them which one of you will tell their servant after he has been working out in the fields all day, ‘Come and eat, you must be so tired’? Not one you! And you’re not really expected to because all the servant did was work the fields, all he did was what he was supposed to do. The same applies to you, the Lord continues, when you have done all the things that are expected of you don’t pat yourself on the back but be a little more realistic, for you have only done that which was expected of you
The faith we are called to have is one of humility, one that does not seek praise but seeks only to continually praise. For as members of the Church everything we do – and there will always be those who do more than others – is still nothing more than what we are supposed to do. After all, we don’t do it out of some need but out of our love for God. Subsequently, the only thing that can possibly be given us in return for all the effort we put in working for the Church is to eternally abide in God’s love.
Hence, if this isn’t one’s goal then one wonders if anything else has any value.