As we all prepare (or brace ourselves) for the coming Thanksgiving meal with family and friends, it is a good practice to give voice to those things that we are thankful for that God has given to us.
Have you ever given something to someone and then wanted to take it back? I’ve lent out books before that were meaningful to me to friends who I thought would benefit from them, but as time went on and they were not returned, I kept longing to have the book back. Eventually, I would go online and buy another copy for myself. Sometimes we give things more valuable than books. We give our trust, faith and our highest hopes and aspirations to others. Then, when they let us down, we are hurt and take back what we gave.
When Peter began to sink in the water after walking out to Jesus, his response sounds like he is taking back his trust in the disciples, “You of little faith!” (Matthew 14:31) It is important to note that Jesus’ response to Peter was directed to all the disciples, including the community that the Gospel of Matthew was addressing. In effect, Jesus is addressing the church of every age, you and me, when its faith begins to wobble.
So what does Jesus do in the face of such wobbly faith? Does he pack up his ministry and find another group of more worthy disciples? Does he institute a divine “take back”? No, in fact, later in Matthew Jesus affirms Peter’s declaration that he, Jesus, is the Messiah by declaring “upon this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of the underworld will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Isn’t this an astounding statement considering how fickle Peter and the rest of the disciples appeared to be?
The apostle Paul and the author of the Gospel of Matthew may never have known each other or each other’s writings, but there are striking similarities when it comes to describing Christ’s tenacity to entrust his message of a new Kingdom to the disciples and Paul’s theological understanding that “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
Whenever you feel wobbly in our faith that led you to follow Christ, consider the reality that Paul articulates, that “the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Whenever you feel that your imperfections hinder or prevent you from being used for God’s purposes, know that God has and never will give up on you. The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you. God’s irrevocable faith in us is an evidence of an amazing grace and something we should all be so thankful for this Thanksgiving!
Keeping the faith that God has in me,
I'm a follower of Christ, husband, father, friend, pastor, story teller, asker of questions, inspired by biblical narratives, social justice advocate, sports enthusiast, drinker of over priced coffee and general seeker of God's redemptive possibilities. Yeah, that about covers it. (If you discover something else, let me know!)