A tiny seed. A bit of yeast. Five small loaves and two dried fish. “Little-faith” Peter….
These are some of the images and stories encountered in recent Gospels this summer. They are a reminder that God’s power is not only evidenced in the parting of seas or moving of mountains, but also in the smallest and least regarded of things.
As I suggested in preaching on Jesus’ walking on water and Peter’s attempted water-walk, when he starts to sink and Jesus says, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”, he wasn’t so much chastising him for lack of faith, but encouraging him that, with that bit of “seed faith” which prompted him even to get out of the boat, he was actually doing fantastically, certainly more than Peter would’ve thought possible.
And all it took was a little kernel of faith, a willingness to try something “crazy” just because Jesus said, “Come! Sure! Try it! I’m right here, and I believe in you.” The Scriptures are full of such stories of the unlikeliest people in the strangest circumstances trusting God’s faithfulness as old Abraham and Sarah leave country and kin to found a new people hundreds of miles away, as teenage Joseph is sold into slavery and rises to rule Egypt and save his family, as shepherd boy David takes on a heavily armed giant, as Daniel and his friends survive furnaces and lion’s dens in exile, as peasant couple Mary and Joseph raise God’s Son to be our Messiah . . .
Ultimately these stories are not about the “monumental” faith of these persons, but of their trust, amid struggles and failures, in a God who took them as they were, called them into relationship, and performed monumental deeds through their lives.
As we look at our own lives and our life together in this community of faith, we may not always see huge, impressive deeds accomplished in our midst. But whenever we trust a little bit more, whenever we put ourselves even with our doubts in God’s hands, whenever we attempt for just a bit to climb over the side of the boat, Jesus will be there to invite and encourage and help us do and be more than we would’ve thought possible.