Posted: 3/3/17 at 10:15am. Article by Adam Tyler.
Last week, our church joined many others throughout the world in celebrating the transfiguration of Jesus. Transfiguration Sunday is a day each year when the church remembers the moment on the mountaintop when three of Jesus’ disciples saw him in his full glory: the radiant Son of God conversing with the prophets of old.
Peter is reduced to babbling on about setting up three shelters to commemorate the moment, to stay there on the mountain – but Jesus has other ideas. He leads his disciples back down the mountain, and immediately they are met (according to Matthew) with a person in need: a father with a sick child.
Jesus’ disciples are unable to help him, though they’ve cast out this type of demon before, and Jesus grows frustrated. Where is their trust in his power and might, which three of them have just seen revealed in full? Where is their mountaintop faith?
This year, I read this text from Matthew 17 in a different light. Three weeks ago, I returned from a mission trip to Ghana, where I and seven others from the Appomattox Baptist Association joined Rev. Emmanuel Mustapha and the More Than Nets ministry. It was an amazing trip!
For ten days, we had the opportunity to help save lives by distributing mosquito nets, we joined Ghanaian Baptists in planting five churches, and we baptized 80 new believers. God’s Spirit moved in powerful ways as people heard the Gospel for the first time and responded in faith.
The book of Acts came to life around us as God brought people into our path to share the Gospel with in unexpected ways. Going to Ghana was definitely a mountaintop experience, and all of us on the team came home with the fires of our faith burning brightly.
Then…life happened. We entered back into the everyday routine of family, jobs, church, and community. For me, it was like walking into a perfect storm of everyday concerns and stresses. Several people in my congregation had health concerns. One family lost a dear loved one, and they asked me to hold the funeral. Meetings that had been put off because of Ghana had to be made up.
I caught a cold, knocking me out of work for a couple of days; as soon as I got better, my wife and son caught it. Very quickly, the faith that had burned so brightly in Ghana – my mountaintop faith – had dwindled to the sputtering candle flame that it usually is: constant, to be sure, but limited.
There’s nothing wrong with everyday faith. Sometimes, that’s all we can muster. But we need to help it to burn brighter. Jesus has some big things for us to do – big things in places like Ghana, and big things in places like home.
He expects something from us, to be his servants and representatives, to share his love and grace and power with a hurting and broken world desperate for the good news. There are wounds to bind, lives to improve, souls to introduce to Jesus for the first time. How can we light the world on fire with a sputtering flame? We need the roaring brilliance of our mountaintop faith.
When I was in Ghana, I felt bold, I felt committed, I felt ready to do just about anything for God. Why wouldn’t I feel that way here? God is the same. I believe he is just as powerful now as he was then, half a world away. The only thing that is different, really, is me: my trust, my focus, my memory of what I saw.
The same God that can save a village in Ghana, the same Christ that can cast out a demon, can work through my teammates, and me, and you, here and now. We can share our faith. We can help save lives. We can do anything God asks us to do here, just as we could in Ghana. All it takes is some mountaintop faith – and we can have it even when we aren’t on the mountain.