[ God loves faith wherever he finds it. ]

Over the last few months, as I have been reading through Mark’s gospel, I have been struck by how God loves faith wherever he finds it. On a number of different occasions throughout Mark’s gospel we see Jesus responding to, nurturing, and commending the faith he finds in those around him.

Jesus responds to our faith

In Mark 5 we read about an encounter that Jesus had with a man named Jairus whose daughter was desperately ill. In fact, in verse 23 we are told that she was “at the point of death.” Along with that we read about a woman “who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all she had, and was no better but rather grew worse.”

There are many interesting things about this story. Like how Jairus was important and probably wealthy, yet the woman was poor (she had spent all her money on doctors) and was a nobody – we don’t even know her name. How Jairus came publically and the woman came privately. How Jesus responded to the woman immediately but to Jairus after a delay. Jairus’ daughter was healed secretly and the woman was healed publically. But the thing that stands out most to me was the faith that both of them had. They were both convinced that an encounter with Jesus would change everything. Jairus says, “Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And the woman says, “If I can even touch his garments, I will be made well.”

In many ways, Jesus’ response to the woman is his response to both of them, “your faith has made you well.” The truth is that Jesus loves faith wherever he finds it, however large or small and he responds to it with amazing results.

Jesus nurtures our faith

In Mark 6 and 8 we read about an occasion when Jesus had been teaching a large crowd all day. As it grew late, we are told that his disciples came to him and told him to send everyone home, but Jesus uses this moment to teach them something about faith. He teaches them that when we give over what little we have to God he can bless it and multiply it in a way that we could never believe or even imagine.

God loves to use moments in our lives – difficulties and challenges – as an opportunity to nurture our faith. Sometimes we are faced with huge difficulties and challenges and we can be overwhelmed by the size of the task set before us, but God loves faith wherever he finds it and he wants to use these moments to grow our faith as we give him what little we have and see what he can do with it.

Jesus commends our faith.

In Mark 12 we read about a moment when Jesus is at the temple and he is sat opposite the treasury, watching people putting money into the offering box. We are told that, “Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Here in this moment Jesus commends the faith of a widow who trusted wholeheartedly in God’s unfailing love for her. She understood something that we often forget; you can’t out give God, and Jesus commends her faith as something to be admired and copied.

Folks, God loves faith wherever he finds it: he responds to it, he nurtures it and he commends it. I want to encourage us all to be men and women of faith in all areas of our lives, seeing every difficulty or challenge as an opportunity for him to grow our faith, wholeheartedly giving whatever we have to God, believing that he can do more than we can ever ask or imagine.

by Grant Van Schalkwyk, Elder at Redeemer Church

Redeemer Church Office | St Barnabas Terrace | Plymouth PL1 5NN

Tel: 01752 568400

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