“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’” … “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’” Luke 17:5; 10
In response to His disciples request for increased faith, Jesus told about a servant who shouldn’t think he deserves anything special for all his work. What does this have to do with faith?
If you approach God as a servant who is looking for pay you will limit grace in your life because grace isn’t given on those terms. Serve God and keep His commandments because you love Him, but don’t allow a spirit of entitlement to get on you because of your sacrifice or great devotion. After you’ve obeyed God completely, remind yourself, “I am an unworthy (undeserving) servant. God owes me nothing.”
In obedience, we must think of ourselves as servants, but in prayer we must take our position as beloved children. (1John 3:1) A master gives a servant wages based on the servant’s performance, but a father gives his children gifts based only on his love and available resources. Jesus said to us, “If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children how much more will the heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him.” (Matthew 7:11) In Luke’s gospel He says the Father gives “the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” The Father gives good gifts, natural and spiritual, not to those who are good, but to those who ask as His children.
Jesus said to pray as children of God, saying, “our Father.” We are adopted children who come to God through the blood of Christ with only the claim that we are loved, and we are His.
One of my favorite Dennis the Menace cartoons shows Dennis and his friend, Joey, eating a plate of cookies. Joey asks: “I wonder what we did that Mrs. Wilson made us a plate of cookies?” Dennis explains: “Joey, Mrs. Wilson doesn’t make us cookies because we’re good; Mrs. Wilson makes us cookies because Mrs. Wilson is good!”
The gospel is not about our performance, but about God’s generosity. To have increasing faith, we need to think of ourselves as both unworthy servants, and God’s favored children.