Recently, I was toying with a children’s book concept about faith. My story began with this kind of old-fashioned dry goods store, run by a kindly, but somewhat mysterious guy who dispensed faith to those who stopped by. It was such a pleasant place that often people would find themselves there, but not really know why they had come. Other times, people would come into the store who knew exactly what they wanted, “Just give me a cup full of faith today, Mr. Able, because that’s about all I can muster today.” Making sure he wrapped the cup carefully, Mr. Able would send the customer on their way, always suggesting that there was more where that came from. Another patron of the store was the town sheriff who wore a big ten gallon hat. When Mr. Able asked what he was going to do with his faith that day, the sheriff replied, “Always keep it here under my hat. That way I know right where it is!” As the sheriff left the store, Mr. Able just smiled and shook his head. Finally, a boy comes into the store who is running away from some neighborhood bullies. Mr. Able asks the boy if he can help him. The boy tosses him a bag and says, “Please fill this up because my mother needs it right away. I think her faith is all used up. Oh, and then can you let me out the back door?” Mr. Able is always ready to dispense faith according to the needs of those who come in the shop. Sometimes, I think we all may treat faith like this.
The good news for us is that God doesn’t dispense faith in the small, medium, and large containers. He doesn’t hide faith in tiny mustard seeds that make it impossible for us to see that it’s there. In fact, He puts it everywhere, totally visible, and totally available as readily as the ocean waves, the evening sunset, or the starry heavens. Faith is free and it operates on a total supply and demand basis. Whatever we ask for, we get.
So what happens then that causes us to come to God with our tiny little cup, hoping for just enough to squeak through a new day. Why do we limit His possibility for us?
Keeping faith under our hats may seem like the right thing to do. We know deep inside it’s there whenever we need it. We know that we feel better when we can see it for ourselves, even if we don’t intend to share it with anyone else, after all, it’s ours. Sometimes it seems reasonable to police our faith as though we wouldn’t want it to get out of control.
For others of us faith is such a part of life that nothing stops us from running to get more of it at every turn. No matter how much the world is bullying us or how many things seem to make it harder to keep going, we know the Source of all we do is somehow tucked into our faith. We know it so well we even find ways to try to get some to give others. We know that the One who has filled us with faith is Able to keep us in His constant care and help us get through the scarier sides of life.
Mr. Able never closes his store. He’s available 24/7 and willingly gives out all he has to those who ask. Sometimes, He even puts up little window signs to remind the passers by that they are welcome any time to stop in. He has a refreshing fountain ready to nourish their hearts, feed their spirits and renew their souls.
Fortunately for us, faith is free for the asking and for the receiving. The only question is what kind of container we use to carry it. The funny part is that the bigger your container is, the lighter it is to carry.
As it says in Galatians 5:6, the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.