Small Faith for the Big Tasks? God’s Got This.
Nearly 30 years ago, a campus minister with Greek InterVarsity Christian Fellowship invited me to lead a bible study in my sorority.
I told her no way. I didn’t know enough about the Bible, I didn’t see myself as that kind of leader, and I didn’t have time. Silently in my heart, I also knew I wasn’t sure about living a lifestyle that fully reflected the heart of God.
This campus minister told me she would pray for me. Again, silently, I thought, “You can pray all you want, I am not doing this.”
And that’s how my adult faith journey began. Holding an invitation that was way too scary for me to consider, especially when I didn’t really understand what it meant to follow Jesus. I was far from a spiritual role model. But after a conversation with my sorority sisters, I realized God may be at work in my life. Perhaps he prepared me for something like this. After all, I loved making a difference in people’s lives, it was why I chose to be an education major. I enjoyed people and was known as a safe person to talk to. People seemed to trust me.
Maybe God wanted to do something in my life and in the lives of others, too?
With a small step of faith in God, I committed to meet with this campus ministry leader and learn more about this crazy idea. Little did I know that this yes to God in college would shape the rest of my life in profound ways.
Stepping out in faith and placing my trust in God, even when it seems crazy, continues to be a life lesson for me.
Lately, I’ve been studying the life of David and his battle with Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. I’m reminded of our choice to put our faith in God as we face risks and challenges in life. It is a choice. There are many other places for us to place our faith, all of which come up empty, and none of which are as powerful.
In the story of David fighting Goliath, we first see David as a young shepherd boy, taking care of his aging father and the family sheep. His older brothers are at war, while he stays home. It seems as if David learned early on to put his faith in God and be content with the invitation to stay home and care for his family rather than “keep up with his brothers” and prove that he, too, could fight.
As the story goes on, David obeys his father by bringing food and supplies to his brothers’ troops as they fight the war with the Philistines. And as he drops off the food, he sees for himself the insulting and threatening Philistine giant, Goliath. The Israelite troops are terrified of this giant. But David is more appalled by Goliath’s defiance toward God and God’s people.
David takes a step of faith to learn more about the situation by asking questions. The more he learns, the more frustrated David becomes. Someone needs to take this giant down, and perhaps it is him.
It might be easy to think that David thought he could defeat the giant on his own. But what we see from David is a lesson all of us would do well to remember. He has confidence in the Lord to work through him. David does not think he can do this on his own power.
In 1 Samuel 17:37, David explains to a doubting King Saul about his past experiences tending sheep and how God may use these skills to conquer the defiant giant. “The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”
As David takes steps toward this audacious yes, he puts his faith in the Lord to rescue him, not his own skills, and certainly not King Saul’s doubting opinion.
David trusts the Lord.
He even rejects King Saul’s top of the line armor and sword, for his own shepherd staff, sling, and five stones he found in the stream. David trusted God to work through him using his own God-given gifts. If he said yes to this, he wanted freedom to say yes to be himself. He couldn’t pretend to be someone else.
We may not have Philistine giants hurling death threats at us, but we might have a different kind of Goliath in our lives.
Perhaps it’s a project at work that seems completely overwhelming and beyond your skill set.
Maybe it’s a relationship that needs reconciled, but the hurt runs too deep.
Or the giant might be the self-doubt inside of you that whispers, “you aren’t enough.”
The bible study I led all those years ago turned out okay. There were weeks we packed out the study lounge, and other weeks I sat by myself. But the real joy was in the spontaneous conversations I had throughout the week about spiritual things and the midnight knocks on my door asking for prayer. What a privilege to get a front row seat into God’s work in people’s lives. God proved faithful to use what little skills I had and even the little faith I brought to Him. I’m convinced I grew the most out of anyone in those precious years at college.
Maybe like David, we might remember God is bigger than our giants. Even when it seems crazy, the Lord is faithful to give us what we need and remind us of who we are.