We had the annual Babbitt campout this past weekend! Thank you, Mike and Joyce for what is always such a good time. I tell them this over and over, but going to their house really feels like going home. Our friends have made so many good memories there; it has become a sort of haven for all of us.
On Sunday morning, all 15 of us and went to church in Rockwell City. We sat in the choir loft of this small-town church, and pretty much filled it. After the opening song, the priest looked up at all of us and said "Holy smokes! We have more people in the choir loft than we do down here!" This was, of course, quite an exaggeration, but they were happy to have us and we were happy to be so warmly welcomed.
The gospel reading was from Matthew 14, where, during a storm, the disciples see Jesus walking on the water. They think that He is a ghost...so Peter, trying to determine if it really is Christ, tells him "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water". Jesus replies "Come". Peter goes to him...he walks on water through the power of Christ, but when he realizes that he is walking on water he becomes frightened and starts to sink. Jesus, of course, reaches out to him and upholds him in his moment of doubt.
So, the priest is reflecting on this reading and says "You know, we aren't called to success. We are called to faithfulness". The truth is that Peter could not physically walk on water. And you know what?
Jesus knew that.
Jesus knew that Peter could not in a million years walk on water. He knew that after less than a split second of Peter attempting to walk on water, it would be bath time for our good buddy Pete. Peter couldn't walk on water. We can't walk on water. The truth is that Jesus knows all of this and yet he says "Come". Why?? Why would Jesus beckon Peter out onto the sea? He certainly didn't want Peter to drown...this guy is supposed to be building the church!
Why would Jesus put us in these situations where we are sure we are destined to fail??
The truth is that you and I are a bunch of failures. :) Keep going with me here. You and I...on our own...are just a "beautiful letdown" (as our friends in the band Switchfoot would say). Jesus knew that Peter wouldn't succeed.
But, Jesus knew that He could sustain Peter.
What I find fascinating (and 0h, so relatable) is that Peter asked Christ to summon him. Peter knew that Jesus could sustain him, but when it came down to it, he still doubted because he knew that he was dealing with his flesh. When he stopped trusting that God could overcome this situation regardless of his weakness…he sank.
It's so appropriate. We have to ask Christ to come in and work in us. And how many times do we doubt? We have professed that he is capable. We know that God can handle it. We are aware that all we have to do is remain faithful.
Jesus knew that all Peter had to do was be faithful to the call. Jesus wasn't asking him to figure out a way to overcome the physically impossible. Jesus was asking him to be faithful. All He wanted Peter to do was trust. Seems simple, right? We read that Peter, in his moment of doubt starts sinking. And we think, "Gosh, he was walking on water. He was so far already. All he had to do was keep his eyes on Christ."
Seems simple. He was walking on water…what’s not to trust??
All God wants from us is our faithfulness…to keep our eyes on Christ and walk toward Him. That seems simple, but you and I both know that God asks us to do uncomfortable things sometimes. Go talk to that woman who is sitting by herself. Heart-breaking things. Praise me in a time of mourning. Impossible things. Go to another country...for a year. But He's asking because he wants to show us that he is faithful. He can sustain us.
You don't have to be a "success". God isn’t asking you to do something great. He is asking you to rely on Him when you’re thinking “I’m going to drown”. God certainly wants us to use our gifts to honor him, but the truth is that nothing we accomplish in this life is going to matter much unless we are greeted with the words "Well done, good and faithful servant" in the next.