In a quiet moment, or what passed for such things, Jesus took Simon aside and named him Peter. Peter, we know, means "rock." And Jesus proclaimed, "On this rock, I will build my church."
And He did.
Which kind of leaves us intimidated by Peter and at the same time, wanting to be him. We want to have the kind of rock-solid faith that God can build His church on. We want to have the solid steadfastness of this disciple so that God can use us. We want to be the foundation for something bigger. Yet we are keenly aware that we are no rock.
We're no big thing. We're no solid ground. We look in the mirror and see our questions staring back at us. We try to steady our ship only to find we're tossed by the waves. We want to be a big thing, but we're no big thing and the more our smallness shakes us, the more we feel ourselves sifting through God's hands, unable to be used. Unable to be blessed. Unable, maybe, to be loved because we're just a little thing.
Take heart. The word of Amos has a promise for you.
I'm going to give the order. I will sift the nation of Israel out of all the nations as if I were using a sieve. Not one pebble with fall to the ground. (9:9)
Do you know what a pebble is? It's a little thing.
Let's get a little context: God is pronouncing judgment on the nations who have sinned against Him. He is laying out His plan for redeeming the nation of His people, the Israelites, who have been beaten, captured, scattered, and rebellious. What He says in this verse is, "I'm bringing them back. I'm re-establishing my people. And I'm starting with anything that's anything, even the littlest thing."
He wasn't looking for a rock; He was bringing back pebbles. And even on my toughest day, I'd like to think I'm at least that.
Maybe I'm no Peter; I know I'm not. Maybe I'm no rock. But I have a little something solid in me, a little bit of faith that's strong enough even when the rest seems to sift away. I have this little core of Presence in me that cannot be broken. It's solid, even one the days when it doesn't seem like much to stand on. Amos reminds me that that's enough.
I suspect maybe we've always known that's the case. After all, Peter wasn't always Peter. He wasn't always the rock. Before God put that into him, he was simple Simon - the very man I see staring back at me in the mirror. The very man looking back at you. The very nobody. The very little thing. He got to be a part of the bigger thing when he gave his whole thing to God.
We can do that.
It's so easy for us to think that just because we're a little thing, we're a no-thing. That our pebble is no rock. But Amos reminds us that God's all about sifting in pebbles, not sifting them out. God's about keeping every solid little thing, every tiny bit of faith, every strong core. He keeps every one.
So I wouldn't worry too much about being a rock, as long as you're at least a pebble. That's enough for God to build His church on. We've seen Him do it. And that makes your little thing a big thing.