A while back I went to see a not totally lame movie called I-Robot staring Will Smith. In the movie Dr. Alfred Lanning is murdered and Will Smith’s character, Detective Del Spooner, is the investigator working the case. He finds an interactive hologram device that was created by Dr. Lanning to guide him through the investigation. Spooner asks this hologram questions and at certain points in the process the response programmed by Dr. Lanning to Spooner is, “You’re asking the wrong question. Program terminated.”
The apostles were in a discussion with Jesus one day. He had been teaching them about forgiveness. Their response was, “Increase our faith.” To this Jesus said, "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) It wasn't so much the wrong question, it was the wrong request. Consider Jesus’ next statement,
"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'?
Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'" (Luke 17:7-10)
How does this fit? I think there are several things for us to learn from this exchange. First, it is not how much faith we have, it is in whom we have faith that matters. Second, don’t expect the Lord to do in you what you are responsible for. It was not Christ’s responsibility to increase their faith, it was their responsibility to do what they were told. It is not the Lord’s place to solve our problems, it is our responsibility to solve problems according to His will. Finally, Jesus was teaching his disciples to recognize who they were in relation to him. There is a danger in being too familiar with the Lord. As we like to say, “Jesus ain’t your homeboy. He is the Lord.” And when we have done what we were told we should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”*
* I know that Christ makes us worthy, this does not nullify the truth they needed to hear and it goes for us as well. He is the Lord.