The motto of many people in life could be “show me.” They are unwilling to try something new or embrace change for the fears of leaving the comfortable. But Jesus challenged His followers again and again with “follow me.” These two simple words call us on an exciting adventure! The sad reality is that because most of us delay or refuse to follow we suffer the consequence of a “little faith.”
The past week the sermon by Pastor Zac was on Peter’s faith to get out of the boat and walk on water. It is easy to pick on Peter, but he was the one that got out of the boat. This week our series on “No Excuses” looked at “Pushing Myself to Trust God.” I am afraid that many of us blow an opportunity by not getting out of the proverbial boat to follow Jesus. I was reminded of several costs of having, as Jesus put it, “little faith.”
I will assume that you are familiar with the major aspects of this Biblical account of Peter getting out of the boat. The first cost that stood out to me from this passage is being “controlled by fear.” Fear can be a hindrance in all of our lives. I love to ride roller coasters. I would be lying if I denied that I have been fearful waiting in line. The closer we get to boarding the ride the greater the fear grows. The worst is once the ride departs and that first climb. And yet if I allowed fear to control me I would find some excuse and I would not ride. It would rob me of the joy I experience after the ride. Pastor Zac pointed out that Peter paused before he got out of the boat seeking Jesus’ encouragement. I find that I do that same thing. I have experienced a degree of fear prior to all the big events in my life. I felt it when I left home for college, when I asked a beautiful red head for a date, leaving a career to train to be a pastor and even when I followed the Lord’s leading to lead a church plant. If I had allowed fear to control my actions, I would have missed these and many other great opportunities. My little faith could have robbed me of the growth and blessing of getting out of the boat. Many criticize Peter, but out of the 12 men in the boat only one got out!
A second insight that hit me was not only does fear keep us from starting, it can cause us to quit before we are done. Again many would criticize Peter for allowing fear to cause him to sink. Peter was overcome by fear when we looked at the wind and the waves. And so do you and I! If walking by faith was easy everyone would be doing it. It is hard because we have to hold onto Jesus even when everything around us shouts we are doomed. Just as walking on water does not make any sense neither do times following Jesus. I have experienced these times of facing impossible hard engineer classes and even hard theological classes in seminary. I have wondered if I was doing the right thing when my finances were severely limited. There are these times times in our relationships, on the job and even in planting a church. The fear of failure can pressure us to quit prematurely and miss the blessing ahead.
So how about you. Are you ready to roll-up your selves and heed Jesus’ call to “follow me.” Yes, there are those “what if” fears before you start. And they are followed by the “I’m doomed now…” It is all part of the adventure of faith. Jesus is calling each of us to trust Him. If you are struggling to get started or frustrated along the way remember that Jesus has your back! “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”” (Matthew 14:31)
-Pastor Joe Parkinson