Matthew 8:10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
When I read Gospel stories like the one about Jesus and the centurion (Matthew 8:5-13), it makes me wonder if the days of ‘great faith’, are well and truly over. A lot of folks that I know, including myself, have faith, but I wouldn’t call it ‘great.’ Some of us have a simple faith – a down-to-earth pragmatic belief system that gets us through each day and encourages us to help our neighbors. Some of us have an historic faith, which is deeply rooted in our traditions and denominational backgrounds. Others have an emergency type of faith which is used to help us overcome setbacks, illnesses, and troubles. But ‘great faith,’ such as Christ saw in the centurion, - that is something which is quite rare indeed.
The more I think about it, the more I believe that it’s meant to be rare. It’s like finding a diamond in a coal mine or a precious pearl in an oyster. It’s something that when we come across it, it’s meant to inspire us, as well as create a feeling of awe. It connects directly to the mysterious love of God and allows us the knowledge of knowing that we are not alone in the universe. It’s a rare jewel to bring us joy; it’s a priceless gift to give us hope.
Perhaps you know or have known someone of ‘great faith.’ Celebrate that fact and think about how that person has influenced you or affected your faith. Praise God for such a blessing and keep looking – encountering people of great faith may be a rare experience, but once found, they offer a real glimpse of God’s everlasting love.
Question to ponder
Who has shaped and influenced my faith in Christ?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for the gift of faith and for the people who inspire us to become better Christians. Open our eyes, hearts, and minds, so we may see those who truly have a great faith in You. Allow us opportunities to share our own faith with others today. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. The church’s website can be found at this link: www.erinpresbyterian.org
Today’s image is one of John’s latest Epiphany drawings called “Gifts of the Magi.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Gifts.