Lessons of Faith

(Matthew 17:14-17)

All of us need more faith! The disciples found themselves unable to perform their ministry effectively because of their lack of faith. Let’s be careful not to judge them too harshly, knowing our own lack of faith at times. Each of us should determine to exercise more faith in God as we labor for Him in the ministry He has placed us in. Sometimes, the Lord allows failures in our lives so we will examine our faith more closely. Faith will accomplish God’s work. Unbelief will not accomplish God’s work. Are you a person of faith or unbelief? Let’s examine what Jesus says about this matter.

Failure is an opportunity to examine your faith in the Lord. The disciples asked the Lord, “Why could we not cast him out?” There is nothing like a major failure in our Christian life to get our attention focused back on the Lord. The disciples had previously cast out demons, but now failed to do so. When miracles become common, they are no longer miracles and the power to perform miracles is gone.

Failures in the Christian life could be faith failures. Spurgeon declared, “This was a very proper question. When we make a failure, let us own that we have failed, take the blame of it to ourselves, and apply to our Lord for His gracious intervention. When we are beaten, let it be said of us, ‘Then came the disciples to Jesus.’ Let us make a private, personal matter of it: ‘They came to Jesus apart.’ Let us sit humbly at our Lord’s feet to receive rebuke or instruction as He sees fit.”

Faith is needed for future ministry. While his disciples were still reeling from their lack of spiritual power, Jesus foretold His death and resurrection. It is obvious that because of their unbelief they heard only the bad news. Far too often, we only see and hear the bad things that are going on and we worry about the future. The great news was “. . . and the third day He shall be raised again.” There is always some good news for the Christian’s future! Always listen for good news even in the midst of tragic information.

Faith is needed concerning the finances of God’s work. Faith accepts that in ministry there will be financial obligations. Jesus, the King of kings, explained to Peter that He does not have to pay the temple tax, just like the earthly kings do not have to pay taxes themselves, but collect them from strangers. In the next verse though, He told them to pay the tax so as not to offend the people. Always pay your bills! God will do the miraculous if you are doing your part to make sure your financial obligations are met. Remember, nothing is impossible if you have faith. Peter, believing the Lord, went fishing for their tax money! He had to go work for it, but God provided it, just as Jesus said He would! What great lessons in faith for the disciples and us!