Who was the one who needed to believe? Is that a silly question? Was it the father or Jesus? Well the father takes it as referring to himself and responds with the encouraging statement I started with: “I do believe, help my unbelief.” I find it tremendously encouraging that Jesus took that seed of faith and the result was the healing of the child. God can do the same for you, and he can do the same for me.
What do I need to believe him for today? Ask him to take our small seed of faith and to help the areas where we doubt, he is good at that, and even with the smallest seed of faith we can see miracles in our lives and the lives of others around us.
Two other things struck me from Mark 9. The first is how our attitude as Christians should be quite different to many in our society today. Many of us and many in our society have a desire and a drive to be first in what we do, within our workplace, our sport, our street. Interestingly Jesus does not say this is wrong, but what he does say is totally upside down logic to our minds. The way to be first is not to push to the front of the queue, it is not to boss others around, it is not to get bigger and better possessions than others. Rather it is to go to the back of the queue and be happy to be there, to lead others by serving them, to use our possessions for the benefit of others first and ourselves last.
This attitude and approach to life is one that is in direct contrast to much that we see and experience in our lives. You will see very little of this depicted on our TV screens, often too little of it within many workplaces and sadly sometimes too little of it within the life of the church.
If that last statement strikes you as odd, or you disagree with it let me ask each of us a question – does the church today exist to serve you? What would a church look like that existed to serve you? And in contrast what would a church looked like where each member served the life and mission of the church? I feel that too often today we are consumers of church rather than servants of the life and ministry of Christ in his church.
The second thing that struck me today was the place of children in the life of the Christian faith. Jesus is extremely strong in his encouragement to welcome children and his judgement on those who stand in the way of children. Again a question for each one of us. How well do we welcome, embrace and encourage children as full members of the Kingdom of God alongside adults? Do we need to do more?