How strong is your heart?
Many of us do not experience the freedom of forgiveness that Christ offers us. Instead we continue to be burdened–even paralyzed– by guilt and shame. We also struggle to extend forgiveness to others, because we cannot share what we have not ourselves experienced.
There are no fairy tale romances in real life. Relationships are the most important gifts God gives us, and can be our most painful and difficult struggles as well. What does the gospel have to say to this reality?
Friendship is one of the most important and most overlooked aspects of our life of discipleship. Many people report struggling to begin or maintain deep friendships. And yet Jesus describes friendship as being one of the highest forms of love (“greater love has no one than this”)
Many people want the blessings and benefits of community but shrink from investing their commitments, time and talents in flesh and blood relationships. In other words, we want to be served, not to serve, which puts us at cross purposes with the calling of Jesus.
Money is the primary idol of our age and perhaps of any age, and love of it is the “root of all kinds of evil.” At the same time, God enables us to gain money for his purposes (Deut 8:18). Our financial lives have deep spiritual implications and is a place where we can be transformed to be more like Jesus
All too often we imagine faith as what is dramatic and explosive when lasting transformation often occurs over a longer course of humble, overlooked, small steps of trust and obedience.
True faith leads us to take steps that put us in dependence upon God. If we are never trusting God, we are not really living lives of faith at all. The themes of this passage are a powerful conclusion that invite us to “step out of the boat”