By E L Thornton
“Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
The disciples asked “where is the Lord,” the Lord asked “where is your faith?”
Had they lost there faith? Or was there ever any faith? I think that Jesus was asking rather, “what is your faith in.”
Along the banks of a great river there was a flood of high water, so much so that they began to rescue victims that were stranded. One old man was up to his knees in water when the first boat came by. “No,” he said, “God will take care of me,” and he refused a ride out in the boat. A short time later when he was in water up to his waist another boat came by. He again said “No God will take care of me.” Soon the water came up to his chin, so a helicopter was dispatched at the last minute. Climb aboard, this is your last chance!” they called. “Thanks anyway, but I don’t need you the Lord will provide.”
Before the helicopter returned home the old man was banging on the pearly gates, mad as a hornet. He bitterly complained to St. Peter, “The last thing I remember I was praying fervently for help, Why did you let me drown?” “Let you drown?” Asked St. Peter, what more do you want, we sent you two boats and a helicopter.”
You have faith, But you must make sure it is directed in the right direction. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Unbelief puts our circumstance between us and God, but faith puts God between us and our circumstance.
A story is told of a small town where there was no liquor store. Eventually, how-
ever, a nightclub was opened right on main street. Members of one of the churches nearby were so disturbed that they conducted several all night prayer meetings, and asked the Lord to burn down that den of iniquity. So, lightning struck the tavern a short time later, and it was completely destroyed by the fire. The owner, knowing how the church had prayed, sued them for the damages. His attorney claimed that their prayers had caused the loss. The congregation hired a lawyer and fought the charges. After much deliberation the judge declared, “It’s the opinion of the court that wherever the guilt may lie, it is obvious that the tavern keeper is the one that believes in prayer. But I am forced to throw these charges out of court because it’s also obvious that the church members do not believe that God answers prayer.” We smile at this story, but it suggests how we are without faith in God at times.
I call your attention to, Rom 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
It is apparent, according to this scripture, that the Apostle Paul felt that God gives to everyone faith. Not much faith, not little faith, but faith. These disciples in this text had faith. Jesus did not ask them “How come you have no faith,” but rather, “Where is you faith.” How are you directing you faith. These men, if they would have answered honestly, would have said, “We have faith in……………………………………….
They were masters at sea, they were knowledgeable about handling a ship at sea. They had learned their trade from their daddies, It had been handed down from generations. As each generation learned about this trade they taught it to their youngsters. Yes they were masters at sea.
There are many people that depend on their own ability to get them through life.
But what will they do when storms come, and they surely will come. You may have the aptness to sail your own ship, you may possess the expertise to handle your life, you may experience the qualifications at getting things done, you may retain the faculties to know what ought to be done, But your faith should be directed to God alone.
Where is your faith? Is your faith in your ability. Your ability was given to you by God and can be taken away in a moment of time. I know a man, he’s been in the veterans hospital in Alexandria since 1959, that got hit in the temple with a ball. So he lays in bed, or strapped to a chair, he has no control of his body. So he sits with a type writer for hours, pecking out one letter at a time, just to write a letter to his daughter.
So all his ability, no matter how great it may be, lays in bed, or is strapped to a chair with him and does him no good.
Prov 3:5-7 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.”
Remember some of the words from the text, Paul encourages us, “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think;” Also he told the Galatians, (Gal 6:3) “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”
I know we have ability. I told someone recently that I had as much expertise in my field as they had in theirs. But I cannot put by faith in my ability for it surely will be- come sin. My dependence is in God.
II. MAYBE THEIR FAITH WAS IN THEIR SHIP:
There is a good possibility that they, or their forefathers, had built their ship. They knew how tough she was. They knew about the framing, the girders, the bracing. They knew that their ship could stand the storm. But their feet are wet.
Possessions, equities, assets, effects, estates, properties, are good but you better not put your faith in them.
Jesus settled that question once and for all in, Luke 12:15 “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” And then he gave them the parable of the rich young fool, about plenty, about full barns and empty hearts, about saying to the soul “eat, drink, and be happy.” “But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
1 Tim 6:10-12 “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
It’s the love of money or possessions. I know many people that loves money that don’t have any. It is not riches, nor possessions, that destroys people.
III. MAYBE THEIR FAITH WAS IN THE SEA:
They had sailed it many times. They knew its every little characteristic and quirk.
They knew that these storms went away as fast as they came. In one moment it’s high seas in a little while it’s calm again.
Life in this world is one continual battle of the cycles. Up today, down tomorrow.
But we say all is well that ends well. But what bugs me is that we never know how a down will end. Will it end in an up, are will it end at all.
If you have your faith in this world I’d like to inform you that this world is too shaky for you to put your faith in.
A writer who choose to disregard Jesus’ admonition to seek first the kingdom and his righteousness, and who lived instead for the fleeting things of this world, penned the following lines in great remorse: “How foolishly I have employed myself! In what delirium has my life been passed! How I’ve wasted my life while the sun in its race toward the horizon and the stars in their courses have lent their beams, perhaps only to light me to perdition! I have pursued shadows and entertained myself with dreams. I have been treasuring up dust and sporting myself with the wind. I might have grazed with the beasts of the fields, or sung with the birds of the woods, to much better purpose than any for which I have lived.”
The masses have their faith in the world and it will be the world that destroys them. I had rather do what I know to be right than follow the masses to hell.
Once upon a time there were three monkeys standing on a seesaw. Above them was a bunch of bananas. The three monkeys all scampered to the high end of the board in order to reach the bananas. As they did, the high end tilted downward and became the low end. They then scampered back to the other end, with the same result. Whereupon, the brightest of the three had an idea: he would stay at one end of the board and wait for the other two to run to the other end and raise him up. Consequently, the bright monkey reached the bananas by not running with the crowd, nor doing what the others were doing, but by standing alone and doing what was right.
I am told that monkey trappers in Africa cut holds in gourds that are fastened to trees. An unwary monkey in his search for food finds the nuts that have been placed there by the trapper. He puts his hand in but can’t get it out because he want let go of the nuts. This is a picture of many Christians. The devil with his crafty devices tries to ensnare us. He appeals to the appetites of the flesh which can lead to out spiritual downfall. As long as people hold to the worldly bait, they cannot escape from Satan’s trap.
Mark 8:36-37 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”