Recently my wife and I were joyfully surprised when a couple we spend time with used their limited resources to help us meet a need (actually several). They said that they had prayed and God had given them both the directive to do what they did. Their gift was from a finite source and they had no way to replenish it, they simply believed that God told them what to do and they did it.
Later on I told my wife that I wish that I had such “simple faith”. The faith to simply hear, simply trust, and simply follow without even a second thought beyond the happiness and joy that comes from being willfully and even wildly obedient.
My wife told me that I should be careful how I express those thoughts since the word “simple” could be considered a slight or diminutive. While the word, simple, might be misinterpreted as meaning of less value, my intent is quite on the contrary, I treasure the word and the concept of simple. I believe simple is better, or even best. While my friend Dave may have written the book on Simplicity, I am wearing the tee shirt, flying the banner, and beating the simplicity drum (metaphorically speaking). Simple to me is a badge of honor and the KISS principle (keep it simple and scale-able) a sort of high calling.
When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.” But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go.’ and they go, or ‘Come.’ and they come. And if is say to my slaves, ‘Do this.’ they do it. When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth. I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world- from east and west- and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of heaven. But many Israelites -those for whom the kingdom was prepared – will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” and the young servant was healed that same hour.
A couple of things stood out to me in this; the first and foremost is that while this was what I would label as “simple faith”, there was nothing diminutive about it. It was a faith based upon what were likely some hard hewn foundations stones.
1. Before he ever approached Jesus with his request he assumed that Jesus had the ability to accomplish the request
2. He approached Jesus respectfully. He full well knew that Jesus had authority in an area where he himself did not
3. He declined the hoopla of having the biggest prophet/celebrity of the day come to his house. “Just simply say the word, Jesus,”
4. He valued Jesus’ time and once Jesus said the word he went on his way.
Everything in this brief encounter showed respect for who Jesus was, showed respect for Jesus’ abilities, and showed respect for Jesus’ time. While there were crowds of people who were pressing in on the Master, many wanting an ancient version of the “photo op” with the celebrity/prophet, the Roman approached with simple faith, to have Jesus grant a simple request.