Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Thursday, May 4 - Self-Reliance Won't Work

“Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith.'” — Matthew 17:19-20

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The Lord has gifted each of us with individual skills to be put to use for His service. Some are uniquely gifted in various forms of arts and entertainment, or with athletic skills that provide a platform to share about Jesus, like Tim Tebow is known for. For many of us, these skills are devoted to the workplace where we are to glorify Him. Others use their God-given skills within the family — homeschooling, raising and caring for children, or helping the elderly. Abilities and talents can be seen everywhere we look, in all different ways. But we all have one thing in common: The abilities and talents we possess have been gifted by God, our Creator, and can be used to impact the Kingdom.

Jesus’ disciples had skills in fishing, business ownership, finance and more, but were empowered by Him to carry out the ministry of teaching, healing the sick and casting out demons. The disciples were successful in that work by going out in pairs with the abilities He gave them (Mark 6:6-13). But some time after they had returned, and Jesus was not with them, a man approached them asking for his son to be delivered from a demon, and they could not do it. When they pressed Jesus for an answer, He said to them, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

Their failure was due to self-reliance. They forgot that the ability to cast out demons came from God the Son — it wasn’t a skill they developed just by working hard for it. Jesus said if they had faith (in Him) as small as a mustard seed, nothing would be impossible.

Often we become complacent — and maybe too comfortable — in our abilities. We begin to view the abilities God has given us as if they are there solely because of our own knowledge or experience. While it’s true that we can, and should, continue to learn, grow and develop our skills to the optimum level possible, there are times in our lives when all the training, studying and experiences are not enough to solve the problem at hand. We need the Lord to intervene by asking Him, in faith, to help us move that mountain rather than depending on ourselves.

Self-reliance will never get us where He wants us to be. We need the power of God to work through us as we accomplish His calling on our lives.

— Loring Schultz

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