There’s a series of hilarious television commercials for a major cellular phone carrier that always show a guy sitting in a classroom asking kids funny and inquisitive questions. I think what makes these commercials great is that the kids answer the questions very passionately and honestly. Most of their answers seem improvised on the spot or very lightly rehearsed, which makes for some great T.V. moments.
In one such commercial, the friendly inquisitor asks, “Who thinks more is better than less?” All the kids raise their hand energetically and when he asks why, a little girl musters up a lengthy response, wrapping up her thoughts with some very profound words: “We want more. We want more. Like, you really like it, you want more.”
I believe this little girl hit the nail on the head! We do want more. We crave more of everything and it sometimes becomes the reason for our existence. More money, more friends, more time, more possessions. We even want more faith. In Luke 17:5, the disciples desperately ask Jesus for more:
“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’” (Luke 17:5).
This is a very logical request when we realize that a few verses back, Jesus shows the disciples the essence of true forgiveness:
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent’, forgive him” (Luke 17:3, 4).
No wonder they asked for more faith! We definitely need more faith to deal with and forgive a person who keeps making the same mistakes over and over and over again!
Or do we?
What Jesus says in the next verse flips everything upside down. To the disciples’ request for more, Jesus responds with less. He says plainly, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you” (Luke 17:6).
Counterintuitive to everything we’ve ever grown up learning about in our “we want more” society, Jesus teaches us that less is, indeed, more. As it turns out, having a heart which contains faith the size of a mustard seed leaves very little room for us, and a lot more room for Jesus. Having less creates more of Jesus in our words, more of Jesus in our decisions, more of Jesus in our relationships.
In the end, and as odd as it may sound, may we want less, so we can gain More.