I want to show you something…this is a walking stick that Ray and the girls made for me when I was in undergrad. I took a hiking class because I had to take a physed course and they thought that mom needed a walking stick. (My question is did they think I was unfit or too old to take the class.) Inscribed on it is one of my favorite pieces of scripture that I have learned (and am still learning) to live by. It’s from 2 Corinthians 5:7…”We walk by faith, not by sight.” The apostles and disciples acted on faith, not by sight. They prayed and waited for something that was unseen because of their faith in Jesus. This is what their actions are telling me…they walked by faith and not by sight. In doing so they were given the wonderful gift if the Spirit that guided them and enabled them to carry on the work of Christ. This same spirit is given to you and me so that we may carry on the work of Christ in our church…in our community…and beyond.
We walk by faith, not by sight…There are many stories of faith in the bible. You have the woman that was healed by faith just by touching Jesus’ garment as He walked by in Mark 5:25. There was the centurion’s servant that was healed by the centurion’s faith in Jesus in Mathew 8:8. He believed that the servant would be healed if Jesus would just speak the word. But I think my most favorite of the faith stories in the bible is the one where Peter walks on water. The story is found in Matthew 14:25-33. This is a story that I take to heart because it reminds me in so many ways of my life. Picture with me for a moment…Jesus has just fed over five thousand people (that alone would boggle the mind) and now tells you to get into the boat and row over to the other side while He dismisses the crowd that was just fed. So…your rowing…rowing…you may be thinking about how Jesus was going to get to the other side since you left Him there on the shore…and all of the sudden you see this thing that looks like a ghost coming at you on the water. (Now I don’t know about you but I would have been pretty scared if I saw that) But then you hear something what sounds like the Lords voice saying “It’s ok…don’t be sacred…it’s me…Jesus.” Now still being a little unsure…Peter…the Rock…say’s, “If it’s you then tell me to walk on the water out to you”. Well of course Jesus says to him “come.”
Well…Peter acts on faith and “steps out of the boat” (I like that saying...you may hear me say it a lot) and starts to walk on the water to Jesus. Peter was walking by faith not by sight. But…something happened as Peter was walking on that water…he started to look around and see the wind, and I am sure that the water must have been a little rough on the water…it usually is in that region, and he began to walk by sight and not by faith…Peter started to sink and yelled, “save me Lord…I’m sinking fast!”
Now what happens next is what gives me hope in my life…the Lord reaches down…and catches Peter. Peter is now safe and sound with the Lord…his view…his focus…is back with the Lord not on the turbulent water around him. You see…Peter didn’t walk on the water just once that day…he did it twice…once out to the Lord and again with the Lord back into the boat. I know that when my eyes lose focus on the Lord and what He has for me to do…I feel lost…like I’m sinking fast. But just as I feel I am going down for the count…something happens that helps me to refocus myself on the Lord and the goodness of God…As if the Lord is reaching out His hand to catch me. Sometimes it happens through people or circumstances and other times through prayer…But there is one thing I know…His hand will come. We walk by faith…not by sight.
Last week…Huntley talked about us as a congregation stopping, waiting and listening for God’s word for us. What does the Lord want us to do within our congregation…our community and beyond? How can we be the ambassadors of Christ’s love where we are and beyond? How are we to be true Disciples of Christ? But as we listen for that still, small, voice…we need to walk by faith and not by sight. We need to trust and believe, knowing that our prayers and waiting will be answered. We cannot go by what we see around us and decide that this or that is what we need to do. Look’s can be deceiving. But if we wait on the Lord…His glory will be seen in our lives.
We may think to ourselves that we are to insignificant to make a change but that is what God wants’…people like you and me to do his will here on earth. In closing, I would like to share with you a reading in the Upper Room last week and there was a story on Wednesday the 2nd that made me stop and think. It was by a man named H. Don Smith from Texas. In it he states that “Throughout the Bible, we read of God choosing ordinary people to do extraordinary tasks. God had plans for Moses, Deborah, David, Mary, Paul; and God gives each of us unique and significant tasks. We ordinary people are capable of performing extraordinary tasks because God sees strengths that we are unable to see. If we follow Christ faithfully, God can use even those of us with seemingly little natural ability to do tasks that no one imagined possible.”
May we ever be mindful and listen for that still, small voice to guide us and walk by faith not be sight, looking forever towards the perfector of our faith, Lord Jesus Christ.