Today's sermon at Newberg Friends focused on Luke 7:1-10. This is the story of a humble centurion. He desired Jesus to "say the word" to heal his dying servant. You can read the details for yourself, but what it all boils down to is a healed servant and Jesus standing in amazement at the centurion's faith. As the pastor told the story he let us in on a detail that I can't seem to get out of my head. He said that the only other time that the word "amazed" is used in reference to how Jesus felt, was when Jesus remarked that the people in his own hometown showed an amazing lack of faith.
I'm really good at making everything about me. So I sat in open worship and wrote, "Am I a person that will amaze Jesus with my lack of faith or my abundance of faith?" I'm pretty sure this isn't the response that the pastor was going for this morning. Nope, he emphasized our varying degrees of ability to recognize Jesus' authority as Lord. I'm hoping that I can tie my more self-centered response to this one.
I believe that Jesus is Lord. He is Lord of creation-and that includes me. I want Christ as Lord of my life. I don't want to take his reign too lightly or simplistically. Letting someone else rule over you, have ultimate authority in your decisions, and the freedom to have their way with you is serious business. I'm positive that for how much lip service I give this idea, I still really stink at letting it be the truth. It's an everyday struggle to renounce my own authority and embrace God's. And here's where the faith piece comes in.
Do I have the kind of faith that says, "I believe you God. I believe that everything you want for me, I'm ok with. I believe that if you want someone healed, it will happen. I believe that my kids don't really need me, they just need You. I believe when I am still and listen, really listen, I'll hear your voice."
Do I really trust Him? Do I believe in God's authority over my own? Do I put my faith in Christ? I say yes, Yes, YES. But my life speaks differently. Each and every day I struggle, I worry, I wonder. I don't live in a state of contented bliss. I live with the fear that if I don't figure out a way to do... How will it get done? I worry about my life being an inspiration to my husband, my children, and the community I serve. Am I hoping to get the pat on the back or do I humbly acknowledge that this is His work and not mine. For all you Seinfeld fans, I love holding the, "big salad."
But here's the good news. I'm getting better. I'm getting better because each and everyday I am learning to trust God's authority. I welcome it. I say, "Bring it God! I'm up for the challenge of letting you take every detail of my life and conform my heart to yours. I'm a slow learner, but I hear you've got all eternity to work on me." I'm getting better because little by little I see my faith growing as I step out in it. It's amazing.