Faithful or Faithless?

Life Notes—August 5, 2010

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.  By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.”  Hebrews 11:1-2 

Is there a more nebulous tenant of religion than faith?  It is a cornerstone of our Christian beliefs that can put us between a rock and a hard place—damned if we do, damned if we don’t.  Does having faith imply action or inaction?  Does a faithful parent trust God to protect their young child from the hot stove?  Where is the line drawn between having faith and taking charge? Clearly, there is a line, but its location is not always clear. 

I had a physician tell me recently that, at some point, we have to “let the Good Lord run His course.”  It felt like a platitude.  He was referring to the medical choices when someone is very ill and likely near death.  We can classify a person as “Do Not Resuscitate (DNR),” meaning some actions will not be taken to extend life, but it still leaves grey areas, such as feeding tubes and pain management.  Is making a DNR or feeding tube decision about a loved one an act of faith, an act of mercy, or something worse?  What is most faithful?  Our decisions have consequences, but we cannot see them from where we stand. Faith questions are difficult, often without easy answers. 

Most Christians have faith that there is a God, that Jesus lived and died to save us, and that there is a Holy Spirit present with us today.  We cannot see any of these spiritual realities, except by faith. Jesus told his followers if they had faith the size of a mustard seed they could move mountains.  Have you seen a mustard seed?  They’re tiny!  Does that mean the non-mountain-movers among us have a microscopic faith?  Paul writes in his letter to the Hebrews, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for…”  We hope for better days in our darkest times because our faith assures us they will come.  

Some of you know the L.I.F.E. in Life worship is an acronym for “Living In Faith Everyday.”  It is a worthy goal.  Personally, I think the line of faith may be drawn something like this: we are moved to action in a certain situation, we take the best action we can with the knowledge and gifts we have, and we leave the ultimate result to God.  We act in faith, then we trust in faith.  We reassess our vision and beliefs; then we are called to act and trust again. And again.  And again. 

Tom’s sermon title (8:30 and 11:00) is “A Faith Adventure in Giving,” based on Luke 12:32-40.  Mitch’s sermon (9:30 and 10:45) is “A Better Country,” based on Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16. Life worship begins at 10:45 in Brady hall.  Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:30. 

Come home to worship this Sunday.  Faithful and faithless strugglers welcome!

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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