By Robert Halsey Pine
“You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:22-33 NRSV).
Jesus said this to Peter as Peter’s fear caused him to sink into the water. Seeing Jesus walking on the water Peter asked to come with Him. Jesus commanded him to come but the strong wind frightened Peter and he began to sink. How often do we cry out to come to Jesus and get faint hearted and distracted before we get there?
A reading from scripture or a meditation might inspire us. The Sunday morning sermon may cause us to say, “What a coincidence, the preacher is talking about the very thing that I need to do in my life to resolve my situation.” The unfortunate thing is that many times we falter as we try to respond to the inspiration. Like the strong wind that distracted Peter, things can distract us and keep us from fulfilling the command that God sends to us through a life event.
In matters of Faith there is no such thing as being “in over your head.” In the natural life there are times when we’re put down or rejected because we’ve tried to move beyond our skills and talents. God’s only requirement is that we turn to him and have faith in him. Smart or dumb, rich or poor, the fare is faith.
I often tell a childhood story about my inability to catch a baseball that was hit high in the air. I would become unfocused and nervous as I waited for the ball to come down. I just couldn’t keep my eyes on the ball. By the time the ball was near to the ground my quandary was that either I would miss catching the ball altogether or it would hit me in the head. Instead of being a part of the game, I was reduced to being a target.
It’s so easy to take our eyes off of Jesus. During a mission in my home diocese a number of years ago, Canon Bryan Greene of England told a group of us, “Don’t think that salvation is in doing the busy work around the church. That will get you nowhere.” He told us that there is only one thing that we should do. He said to us, “Keep your eyes on Christ!”
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.