Everyone has a favorite character from the Bible. Some admire David for his great leadership, while others identify with the impulsive Peter or the courageous Paul. One person that I’m drawn to is one of lesser-known figures in the Bible who is mentioned only a few times in the Gospel of John. In meeting his disciples for the first time, Jesus encounters Nathanael and says in John 1:47, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” In other words, Jesus was complimenting Nathanael on his honesty. Nathanael was by no means perfect, but he was spiritually honest with himself and others.
A couple of weeks ago we talked about the importance of spiritual honesty in our lives, especially in terms of admitting our sin and weakness so that God can work in us and grow our faith. We mentioned that spiritual honesty is really the starting point of faith and now we want to take that idea a bit further. To use a farming analogy, think of honesty as preparation for planting. The soil has to be prepared and cultivated, machines are made ready, and planting schedules determined. The farmer does not do all this alone. To get the seeds to grow correctly requires relationships between several people, including farmhands, agents, machinists, seed distributors and the like.