At Vacation Bible School this week we were studying what it means to follow Jesus. I was the recreation leader and we were playing a silly game with water and talking about baptism. As I was explaining to the children, I left myself wide open to be trumped by the faith of a child. I shared, “Following Jesus means doing the things that he did. What are some things Jesus did?” Without missing a beat, a young man in the 5-6 year old class said “Walked on water!” As I began chewing on my own lack of faith, I began to regroup my thoughts to try to steer the conversation toward my intended target, i.e. “Being nice to people, helping the poor, loving others, etc.”
The next day, I thought I would share this little story on Facebook and Twitter and put a #fail hashtag on it. This was not saying that the child’s answer was wrong, but rather that my methodology in teaching was flawed. After I posted it, I found myself in a theological debate about modern miracles and how if believers had more faith we could walk on water, heal the sick, etc. In the course of this discussion, a nugget of truth I believe to be straight from God came through my keyboard. I posted “The most miraculous things Jesus ever did were not things that made people go “ooh” and “ahh”, but made people say, “Should he really be doing that?”
It really stuck with me in my own approach to ministry. I’m not saying we shouldn’t seek to be so filled with God’s spirit that miracles do happen. But I think the greatest things Jesus did were the things that went against social constraints of his day. Sure, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but he also talked to the Samaritan woman at the well in the middle of the day. The latter wasn’t supernatural, but it was equally miraculous. Likewise, Jesus healed another woman of her chronic hemorrhaging, and in a similar crowd challenged the religious leaders to examine their own hearts before casting a stone at a sinful woman. One was supernatural, but both were miraculous.
In youth ministry, one thing I always challenge my students with is reaching out to those students who have no friends; the ones who are unpopular and unloved. Maybe one day when we start loving others the way Jesus loved, the spectacular miracles will happen? So until I learn to walk on water, I can still do the miraculous in the meantime.
What are some everyday miracles you’ve done or seen?