Story of the Day for Wednesday May 25, 2011
Walk on Water and Doubt
Live such good lives among the pagans that. . . they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:12
Paul Mason is writing a book on losing weight. He has lost some pounds of late and is eager to share his insights with others. Yet, what makes us admire his chutzpah is that, at 686 pounds, Paul Mason is still considered the heaviest man in the world. He grew so enormous that, to get him to a hospital, firemen had to knock down a wall of his house and lift him out with a forklift.
We wish him well – both on his book and his diet. (One witty journalist thinks his book will be a “vest-sweller”). But you do have to wonder, don’t you — who would buy a diet book from the fattest man on earth?
The apostle Peter talks about our lives being a creditable reflection of our faith. He believes that our behavior serves as a witness to unbelievers and helps lead them to the God of grace.
So, do you wince when annoying busybodies like me talk about being a witness for Christ? More often than not, this topic dredges up painful memories. We recall some of our spectacular failures to live a Christ-like life, and know, sometimes, we’re not a good witness at all.
If you’re feeling pretty cruddy about how you’ve behaved lately, maybe you need to remember Peter. He pledged his loyalty to his Lord and declared he was willing to die rather than disown Jesus. Hours later, he vehemently denied any knowledge or allegiance to Jesus. Not once, but three times.
Peter knows what it is like to fail the Lord. And, unlike your failures or mine, Peter’s sin got stuck in the Bible for the whole world to see.
Are you embarrassed because you have fallen flat on your face? Well, this is not the time to talk about being a witness. We first must go to the one who covers our shame. Jesus didn’t come into the world to pat good people on the head; he came as a doctor to care for our spiritual sickness. Only Jesus’ forgiveness can get us back on our feet again.
Look at Peter’s life. He tried to walk on water and doubted. Jesus grabs his hand and lifts him up. Peter gave the misguided advice that Jesus would never need to suffer and die. Jesus called him Satan. But he kept him as his disciple. And, around a campfire on the shore of Galilee, the risen Lord confronted Peter after his denial, and restored him to a place of leadership.
We are not fooling unbelievers when we try to deny our failures and hypocrisy. Our witness to the world will sometimes be the wonder of Christ’s mercy when we fail.