Links Daily Devotional

Brave Faith

By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. (Hebrews 11:4, NIV)

In Saturday’s third round of the Shell Houston Open, second round leader Steve Wheatcroft, fighting to stay in the hunt, hit his approach shot into the greenside bunker at the eighteenth. The ball came to rest just inside the back edge of the bunker, leaving him a downhill lie and a shot across the entirety of the bunker and probably 50 feet of green, with water on the other side of the hole.

In other words, Wheatcroft found himself in one of golf’s most difficult situations.

And yet here he was, needing to go at the shot without hesitation if he was to make anything good of it at all.

Then it happened. Wheatcroft hit—to avoid the nastier term—a hosel rocket. Straight right. Out of the bunker, across the far back of the green, into the grass behind the green, but gratefully not in the water. The former Tour winner managed a bogey five and ran for cover.

In golf, some of the bravest acts are required from the smallest shots. It takes as much courage to hit a soaring flop from a tight lie as it does to power a driver over a watery shortcut, as both shots require a full swing and no hesitation.

The Bible speaks frequently of small things.

The prophet Zechariah spoke God’s words when the LORD asked through him, “Who despises the day of small things?” The LORD was charging Zechariah to look at the foundation stones of the new temple. They may not have seemed much in this beginning stage of the rebuilding, but these were the signs that the LORD had big plans ahead.

Jesus famously spoke of faith the size of a mustard seed. If we could demonstrate even a small faith, he said, we would see big results—like the moving of a mountain. Likewise, he said that those who can be trusted in small matters are also to be trusted with things demanding far more.

Faith itself often seems like one of these small things. If faith is more than the invisible belief in our heart, then perhaps it is words and not much else. So little. So incidental.

But this may blow your mind: Cain’s name was drawn from the Hebrew for “a work of one’s hand,” while Abel’s came from the Hebrew for “mere breath.” Yet in the lineage of faith, whose name survives? Abel’s. “By faith…” we read of Abel and those who would come after him in this progression of true believers.

If we are to get in line behind them, we will never do so by our tremendous feats but by our brave faith. We may not think we are believing for much, but we must believe. That is the thing—believing. Like breathing. If we can just do that, even if only like little children, we will have taken a mighty step.

Jeff Hopper

April 3, 2013

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