Thursday, July 29, 2004

Matthew 17:14-20 – And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him." And Jesus answered, "O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me." And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." (ESV)

The other day, I attempted to shorten a screw using a small hacksaw. However, after I had used the hacksaw for about twenty seconds, it seemed that my efforts had ceased to make any meaningful impact. Before the commencement of the task, I had replaced the existing blade with a new one, so I was surprised at my lack of advancement through the screw.

Upon further investigation, including putting my glasses on, I noticed that the hacksaw blade's teeth had been worn off completely, clean as a whistle! It was then that I remembered that I had bought them from a bargain store, many blades for a very little amount of money. Admittedly, they did not have any writing on them to say that they were hardened steel; I had just assumed it because the ones I buy usually are.

Having reverted to an alternative hacksaw with a proper hardened blade in it from my toolbox, I completed the task.

It was only later, during communion, that the significance of my experience bubbled to the surface, and I perceived that perhaps there was more to this than just the poor quality of components. What the event had to say was that sometimes God asks us to do things that cannot be completed by the use of our inherent natural gifts alone. I believe that our effectiveness as Christians is dependent upon a faith that is real and mature, and in a right relationship with God Who expects dialogue. This faith grows and is hardened in the fire of experience, giving us "teeth" that cut, rather than ones that melt away under pressure!

Prayer: Lord, forgive us when our faith becomes tokenism, facile and untried. Increase our faith today so that by Your grace and authority we might be able to move mountains in Your name. We rejoice that Your love for us has prevailed again when we doubted. Amen.

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About the author:

Rod Marshall <roderickhenrymarshall@gmail.com>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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