Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
A friend runs a factory in China that makes Christian gift items including figurines of Bible stories with Scripture verses. They produced one of this story with Jesus lifting Peter out of the water – a thrilling event. They couldn’t understand why this particular piece was not selling until someone pointed out the passage on the statue – “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”
Can you imagine giving that as a gift. “Here pastor, just a little gift to tell you what we think of you and your ministry among us.”
In sermons on this passage I’ve heard Peter get a lot of grief as pastors exhort their people to not look at the surrounding winds and waves, keep your eyes on Jesus, etc. But notice no one in the boat that day ridiculed Peter. He was dripping wet but at least he had taken a few steps on water. All the dry folks never even got out of the boat! Yes, he doubted but he at least had a “little faith” while the rest of the crew played it safe.
It is better to live your life like Peter and respond to the Lord’s invitation to “Come” even if you might end up looking like a fool to those who play it safe. Without risk there is no faith.
It’s not up to us to decide whether we walk on water or take the bridge. (Unless the Lord says “Come”, you better take the bridge!) But when we have heard His voice I want to be one who responds to His invitation to take the risk, use what little faith I might have, step out and trust that either the water will get hard under my feet or He will reach out and rescue me – or both.
Either way, it assures me I will not live some dull, lack luster Christian life. At the end I will not look back with regrets that I never pushed the envelope to see what God could do. I will not have merely existed and passed through life as one of “those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
“It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
President Theodore Roosevelt
Speech at the Sorbonne
April 23, 1910