There is an old story about a tightrope walker who rode a line through Niagara Falls. When he reached the other side, he turned around and fended off a wheelbarrow.
The crowd cheered and marveled at his skill. Then he turned to the crowd and asked, “Who thinks I can get this across with someone sitting in the wheelbarrow?”
They all raised their hands. Then he asked, “Who believes enough to get into the wheelbarrow and come with me?” All hands went down and no one volunteered.
In 1989, for our 20th anniversary, our daughter gave us a gift that we will never forget. She arranged for us to experience the exhilarating thrill of bungee jumping.
When our friends heard about it, some of them thought we were careless, irresponsible and foolish. We have all heard stories of fatal accidents. In fact, a local veteran bungee jumper died hundreds of feet away when he jumped from a hot air balloon. He had tied his own ankle straps and checked his own gear and when he was confident in all his preparations he jumped. He had, no doubt, great faith, but his faith was in his own works; no one had checked that the other end of his rope was securely attached to the basket.
For Kathy and me, jumping out of that cage was a leap of faith that required total commitment, but we weren’t afraid. We had seen others leave before us and we had heard their own stories of their experiences. Before entering the cage, the attendants worked, systematically, through a written checklist of procedures to make sure everything was okay. They selected the correctly sized strings that were calculated for our weights. Then they strapped them to our ankles with primary tethers and secondary tethers as a failsafe. They ran every inch of the strings through their hands while visually examining them for flaws, cuts, or panties. When they reached the end of the ropes, they attached them to the cage with a primary attachment and a backup second. They explained every step of what they were doing as they went through their checklist. And every detail of the preparation was carefully executed and double-checked by the attendant’s supervisor.
So the faith we placed in the gear wasn’t some kind of dumb, ignorant, “I hope” type of faith. Based on the experiences and testimonies of others, the integrity of the equipment and the qualifications of the operators, we had substantial assurance for our faith.
For Christians, saving faith is not a matter of the breadth or greatness of our faith. People with great faith make deadly commitments all the time. My own grandmother was one. She was a churchgoer, with great faith in a false religion that is not rooted in the Truth of God’s Word. When she became very ill, she exercised her faith by refusing necessary and available medical care. Not only is she physically dead, but she is also dead in her sins and condemned to eternal judgment.
Our salvation is not based on how much or how big our faith is, or what we have done. A Christian’s faith is complete trust in Jesus Christ alone. Saving faith is “I know” faith because it is dependable, trustworthy, and almighty. He will never leave us or forsake us.
TRUSTING JESUS is a song written by Edgar Stites and set to music by Ira D. Sankey. In the first stanza is this sentence that particularly caught my attention: “Even when my faith is small, To trust in Jesus is all. You can trust him in everything.
Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I came down from heaven to do, not my will, but the will of him who sent me. And it is the will of him who sent me, that I lose nothing of all that he has given me, but that I raise him up at the last day. For it is the will of my Father, that whoever looks upon the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. Jn. 6:37-40
Our Savior is able and reliable. And His resurrection is proof of His power over sin and death. If you want to cross to the other side, you must “get in the wheelbarrow” and trust only Jesus for your salvation.
Ralph M. Petersen and his wife, Kathy, are the owners of the OLDE TOWNE EMPORIUM at 212 E. Main St. in Rogersville, Tennessee. Your comments are welcome. You can contact him at [email protected] or by phone at (951) 321 9235.