I believe [but] Help me in my unbelief!

Christ-centered leadership, Empowerment, Engagement, Leadership Decision-making, Trust

In Mark 9 a father cried out to Jesus to save his child from seizures and to cast out a demon. The disciples had tried and failed. Jesus comes along and says the following:

“If thou canst believe, all things [are] possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Mark 9:23-24

The boy was instantly healed. The disciples, (those delegated and responsible for spreading the gospel, healing the sick, etc.) were dumbfounded.  “”And when he [Jesus] was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, except prayer and fasting.” Mark 9:28-29.

Now, many western commentaries suggest that this meant that the disciples needed to pray and fast first to be able to heal the boy. Furthermore, some commentaries [depending on the translation] suggest that fasting may or may/not have been part of the prayer to prepare for healing (although most agree it was common practice at the time). The real revelation is that the commentaries assume perhaps wrongly so, that the disciples alone were in charge or empowered to heal the man. In these, the father is an innocent and powerless by-stander. I would like to suggest that Jesus meant that the healing was successful [in part or in whole] because the father prayed (asked Jesus for help) when he said, “I believe. Help me in my unbelief.”

If this is true, then we are reminded again that as leaders, we are stewards over God’s people (at work, in the community, and at home). It is important for us to have faith but this alone will not make lasting change. We must help those followers believe [pray for their unbelief] and be careful not to miss the importance of their equal role in saving and/or healing themselves. In this case, we can learn from the father who plead for help for his lack of faith. The model of behavior here comes from him first in that he humbled himself: 1. recognized ultimate authority; 2. realized his own unbelief and then 3. submitted via prayer for help. It was at that point that Jesus responded and healing took place. By implication, this is the model not only for us but for those modern day “disciples” and Christian leaders.

God is interested in the personal relationship with each of us. He wants every person to believe in Him, not in others who have the ability to lighten our burden (physically or financial heal) or provide temporary sustenance (money, position, etc.). He is interested in eternal healing; the kind that’s lasting and spiritual. He is our source of help and is accessible to all levels, not just those in a leadership position. When we as leaders realize this, we can be so much more effective.

As we model humility [we ourselves ask for help a/k/a prayer], and respond with authority [in Christ] to those around us that ask for help, we realize rewarding leadership beyond that of worldly acknowledgment. God wants to bless us but He wants to make sure that we are acting in accordance with His wishes with the few so that we can be ready to be leaders of many!

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