Growing in Faith
If you’ve grown up going to church then you’ve probably heard many Bible stories about people of great faith. People that did miraculous things because of their faith and confidence in the Lord and His great power. Even if you’ve never attended church, you may have seen or heard some of these stories portrayed over the years in movies and television. For example, Moses parting the Red Sea (Exodus 14), David defeating Goliath (I Samuel 17), or Esther saving the Jewish people (Esther). Of course, there are many other stories of faith in scripture. There are also people in modern times who have demonstrated great faith in the Lord; people such as Mother Teresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and William Wilberforce. Despite the fact that some of these people and their stories seem so incredible, they are real accounts of God accomplishing amazing things through His children.
When I hear these stories, they often inspire me and make me want to go out and do great things for God! Don’t you want to part the seas, defeat the giants in the world (I think I heard a yes from the Dodger fans), and save the people? I do . . . until I come to my senses and realize that one doesn’t usually just roll out of bed and decide to do great acts of faith. What I read and see in these stories are people whose faith has been developed over a period of time by walking with the Lord, trusting in His goodness, and learning to rely on Him. As a matter of fact, many of our heroes of faith had their share of struggles with confidence (Moses), sin (David), and fear (Esther). They’re more like us or we’re more like them than we probably realize. Sure God has naturally given some people a greater measure of faith. But, as a rule, our faith is shaped and hammered out over time just like our relationship with Jesus is. It seems that only after some development so-to-speak does God place people in positions as it says in Esther 4:14 “for such a time as this.”
Last month Stephen Okamoto, our Youth Director, preached on the Parable of the Shrewd Manager in Luke 16. In the message, he spoke of being faithful with what God has given us. In the parable, Jesus says in Luke 16:10, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” I think there’s a key principle for us that if we are faithful over the little things, God will make us responsible over greater things. That’s not to say that the Lord won’t use us now to do wonderful things in His ministry. I see people in our church today who give faithfully of their time and resources in worship, outreach, teaching, prayer, and shepherding to bless others and advance God’s kingdom. I am so thankful for them (you). You are putting your faith in action!
Beloved, God may never call most of us to demonstrate our faith in such a dramatic way as He did Moses, David, or Esther. Although He may. We never know. But He is calling us to be faithful in the little things He gives us to do: to love, to give, to pray, to serve. This is not to underestimate how challenging the everyday things in life can be. But as we continue to grow in our trust and confidence in the Lord, may He increase our faith and enable us to do “even more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).