Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
When He was among us personally, did Jesus praise anybody? In His parables, yes, He represented the Lord as saying "Well done, good and faithful servant" to some people, but do we have a record that He actually said that to any human among His contemporaries?
He said something nice about the poor lady who gave her "two mites" to the offering in the Temple, that she had "put in more than all" because "she ... has put in all the livelihood that she had" (Luke 21:2-4). But He said this behind her back, as it were. He told Peter that he was "blessed" because he boldly confessed his faith that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16, 17). But He seemed very reticent to praise people lest they become vain. That was love!
A notable exception seems to be Mary Magdalene. In her presence, He defended her before Simon and the disciples saying, "She has done a good work for Me," the word in the original meaning "exquisite" (Mark 14:6). He also said, "She has done what she could" (vs. 8). A classic understatement, for it meant that she had done all she could. He had declared that she had "faith," for it had saved her (Luke 7:50); now He added this, that her faith had "worked" to the utmost, being a picture for us of what Paul meant in Galatians 5:6 about "faith working through love." Faith is not genuine unless it does "work." A battery is dead unless it sparks.
The final judgment (that we have all dreaded) is not whether we have a "battery," but whether it's alive. God has given to every one "the measure of faith" (Rom. 12:3, KJV); that's not the last question--but, is that faith alive and working? Cross the poles of a live battery and it will almost knock you down, even though a dead battery looks exactly the same as a live one.
So let's not waste good breath praying, "Lord, give me some faith!" because He already has given it. And it's probably a waste of breath praying Him to charge our "battery" unless we "plug it in." The Lord is a wonderful Savior, but we must cooperate with Him; there is something sensible we must do.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 25, 2004.
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