People greet one another in various ways. For men, greetings tend to be few in number, but they do range from (1) how the other person is doing, (2) how crazy the weather is that day and (3) sporting events. In my case, I have been known to use all three examples as ice breakers when encountering other men at church, work, etc. Now I’m beginning to wonder whether we should talk about other things, more important things.
Seriously, what would happen if men of Christ stopped asking, “How are you,” and started asking “How is your faith?” You see, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Do you consider yourself more of a ‘great man of faith?’ Or, do you relate more to scripture where Jesus mentions someone’s “little faith?”
The word ‘faith’ appears many times in the Bible, and many instances occur in the Book of Matthew. In fact, the publican turned disciple wrote about various events or teachings in which a lack of faith was addressed (Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20). I find that a bit ironic given that many of the people Jesus is talking to in these situations are His disciples. Meanwhile, when a Roman centurion asks Jesus to merely speak and heal an ailing servant, Jesus marvels and tells others around him that He had not found so great a faith in all of Israel (Matthew 8:10, Luke 7:9). Here was a guy who had no reason to believe in Jesus being that he was a Gentile, likely raised in a pagan environment.
A similar example is found in Matthew 15:21-28. That’s when a Syrophenician woman sees Jesus, cries out to him and asks for her daughter to be healed. After a brief exchange, one in which the woman acknowledges that Jesus is the Lord and messianic King, Jesus mentions how her faith is “great.” Like the centurion, the Syrophenician woman is a Gentile and most likely did not have the same beliefs as the Jewish disciples. However, I would argue that the Syrophenician woman had more faith than the centurion, given that the brief exchange between her and Jesus involved not only His silence but His refusal and what Easton’s Bible Dictionary describes as His seeming reproach that it was not meet to cast the children’s bread to dogs. Even so, the woman stood the test, and Jesus granted her request. Why? Because of the greatness of her faith.
We are disciples of Jesus Christ. While we may not have been eyewitnesses to His walking on water and the Transfiguration, we are witnesses that can testify as to what He has done in our lives. I do not know about you, but I sometimes forget what He has done for me and other people I know. I do not always sing hymnals as loud and proud as I should. Even when incredible things that include me occur, I am like Elijah. I seclude myself because I stressed out, exhausted and feeling like my work accomplished nothing (1 Kings 18 and 19). That is why I say it is important we greet one another and talk about where our faith is at that time.
We might get a funny look. We might not get a response. Still, iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17). Call me crazy, but God might be using you to sharpen the men around you. He might also be looking for someone to help you out.
After all, His ways are not out ways (Isaiah 55:8). We just need to have faith.