“I’d rather be lucky, than good.” Have you ever heard that phrase? I am reminded of it when I read today’s Bible passage. In it, there are two stories that you have probably read before. The first tells of the Centurion and his great faith. I think he was “good.” The second, tells of Jesus’ encounter with a widow during a funeral procession. I put her in the “lucky” category.
This is the story of the Centurion. Knowing that Jesus’ physical presence was not necessary to heal his slave, he asks Jesus to “say the word, and my servant will be healed.” Upon hearing this, “Jesus marveled” at his faith (v9).
Reading this story, I question my own faith. Do I have as much faith as the Centurion? The Bible tells us that with the faith of a mustard seed, we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). I want that kind of faith. But, where does it come from? How do I get it? To help answer those questions, let’s look at the second part of today’s reading.
In this story, Jesus comes across a funeral procession. When he saw the Widow, Luke witnesses Jesus’ compassion. According to him, Jesus “overflowed with compassion” (v13, NLT). Now, think about this widow. Jesus did not know her, nor did she go about soliciting his healing. No, this was a chance encounter. This is why I call her lucky. Effectively, she did nothing to earn or deserve the compassion that Christ showed. Nothing.
So how about you? Would you rather be lucky than good? Truth is, we are all lucky. Jesus comes to us, first. Just like the widow, he looks upon us with love and compassion. From there, he will do whatever it takes to give us life. Even, if that means giving up his own life. Even if it means intolerable suffering. Do you accept it? Ironically, this is where faith comes in. Our acceptance of this gift is all it takes. So first we are lucky, then Jesus makes us good.