Luke 9:40-41 reminds me of Luke Skywalker trying to get his ship out of the bog – moving rocks and droids with the force are one thing, moving a ship is entirely different. Yoda tells him its only different in his mind – that size matters not. Then Yoda gets the ship out. Luke says: “I can’t believe it”. Yoda: “That is why you fail.”
The disciples were faced with a difficult demon and couldn’t cast it out. Why? Jesus had given them authority over evil spirits earlier. They didn’t use their authority for some reason. They couldn’t do what Jesus always did. And so Jesus cast out the demon himself and scolded his disciples.
I think we do this with leadership. We face a difficult problem and can’t do it. It simply can’t be done. What’s worse is that like the disciples and like Skywalker, we try and fail and give up, and leave it to the master time and time again to make it work. Failure is okay, its giving up that’s the problem. The difference with Jesus is that He works through us by the Holy Spirit. When we are doing anything that is part of the calling God has given, the Spirit is at work. The place we fail is with faith. We don’t believe that the really difficult things can be done, that the insurmountable barriers can be broken down. We give up, not because the task is too difficult, but because we don’t believe that the difficult task can be done. The truth is that our faith is not in whether it can be done, its in whether God can do it – and of course he can. Our faith is tested again, when we realize that God has faith that we are his instrument for carrying out the task that he has placed before us. Yes, God has faith in us. Jesus had faith in his disciples and sent them out. God asks us to lead by first and foremost having faith.
“I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you?”