When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, "Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith."
-- Matthew 8:10
If you were around in the 1970's, you surely remember Evel Knievel, the daredevil made famous through his attempts at jumping a motorcycle over the Snake River Canyon in Idaho and the Grand Fountains at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.
(It's perhaps no surprise that Knievel broke 37 bones during his lifetime!)
More than a century earlier, Charles Blondin was the nation's headline-grabbing risk-taker. In 1859, Blondin made a name for himself by being the first person to walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls. Even more impressive was that he accomplished this feat in different ways: on stilts, in a sack and even in the dark.
A crowd of admirers soon grew along with the Frenchman's fame. And there's a famous story that Blondin one day walked the tightrope over the falls blindfolded while pushing a wheelbarrow. The audience that had gathered along the riverbank roared their approval of the death-defying spectacle.
"Do you believe that I can carry a person across in this wheelbarrow?" he asked the excited crowd.
"Yes, yes!" they replied. "You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. You can do anything!"
"OK," said the daredevil. "Get in the wheelbarrow."
Blondin's admirers claimed that they believed in him. But when he asked them to leave the comfort and safety of the riverbank and put their faith into action, no one came forward. Likewise, Christ-followers today can fail to step out of their comfort zone for other kinds of faith-walks. When we face tough situations at home or at work, do we compromise or do we trust that God's way is ultimately the right way--regardless of the cost? For example, your boss might tell you to shade the sales figures so that the department will look good to the CEO. And your spouse might want you to fudge the family's tax return for a bigger refund. After all, who will ever know the difference?
When the spotlight is on us, we must expect opposition. That's when we need to ask God for the power to trust Him and resist the temptation to compromise on what's right.
Doing things God's way can be costly--and particularly uncomfortable--when everyone is watching. But these situations can also be opportunities to show that our faith as Christ-followers is much more than mere words during a Sunday morning worship service. It's this kind of faith-in-action that honors God. And when we seek to honor God, He will seek to honor us.