"Peter said, 'Explain the parable to us.'
'Are you still so dull?' Jesus asked them.
'…You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread?'" (Matthew 15:15-16; 16:8, NIV)
As I read Matthew’s gospel, I stand with Jesus among my friends by the lake of Galilee and hear Him say, "Are you still so dull?" I have to agree that I am dull in understanding the secrets of His kingdom. I sit with my friends in the boat on a ride across the lake and hear Jesus say, “You of little faith…Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand…Or the seven loaves for the four thousand…?” I realize that I am—along with them—a faith-midget.
Where does this lack of faith and dullness of understanding come from? The Lord is showing me that they arise from my weak desires. I, along with my friends the disciples of Jesus, am confronted by the passivity and inertia that comes from being satisfied with the status quo. The status quo tells me that the religious establishment must have it right, that my church culture as I know it is good enough, and that miracles are for places like Africa and Asia, but not Europe or North America. And what is worse, God knows, I have little ability to imagine that it can be any different. So the Lord Jesus comes in with a clearer eye and calls me to strengthen my desires for a better world, namely the kingdom of God—the impossible kingdom!
Martin Buber has said, "Whoever can no longer desire the impossible will be able to achieve nothing more than the all-too-probable." Jesus calls me to desire the impossible—knowing that "with God all things are possible"—and to act on that desire.
I am called to desire that things be changed in Iceland, in Europe, in North America, and the world so that the kingdom of God comes in fullness. I’m called to want thousands of people following Jesus in every area of life and helping tens of thousands more become His followers. It is not first a question of believing it can happen, but rather of wanting it to happen.
This wanting then leads to faith-at-work, which acts in ways that bring help to the needy and understanding to those who are ignorant, in the name of Jesus. This can be as simple as doing my job well, smiling at a person, listening seriously to someone, or opening my home when I don’t feel like it. It can include things like encouraging people to buy "fair trade" products, joining in signing a petition for a just cause or standing with those who are alone. It surely means using my influence to rally others around the kingdom work of Jesus and working to bring His message of repentance and faith to as many as possible.
Yes, as it says in the title of a book, "the impossible may take a little while," but without an earnest desire for the impossible, it will not happen at all. Jesus took an astounding risk when He entrusted His mission into the hands of those who are naturally dull and short on faith like you and me! I suspect that as we desire the impossible and act in Jesus' name, we may actually find our understanding sharpened and our faith growing.
Warmly in Christ,
"Our help is in the name of the Lord the Maker of heaven and earth." (Psalm 124:8, ISV)
How dissatisfied are you with your own dullness and lack of faith?
How much do you desire the impossible?
What are you trusting God for today that only God can do?