Let’s be honest. Some of Jesus’ words to his first century disciples about having faith in God are startling and leave me wondering. Can I really exercise that depth and level of faith in prayer? Do I really trust that God can do whatever I ask of think? Am I bold enough to believe He can throw a mountain into the sea if I merely ask?
One of my heroes, Hudson Taylor, pioneer missionary to China said that Jesus’ words in Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God,” should really be understood to mean, “hold onto the faithfulness of God.”
Read Mark 11:20-26.
In a July 28, 2017 edition of the Pentecostal News, a weekly update from the Assemblies of God, an article caught my attention. The story centers on the tiny Southern Asian island nation of Sri Lanka. A Chi Alpha team of 14 students from the University of Arkansas – Little Rock arrived this summer as a monsoon swept across the island.
Partnering with the local Assemblies of God church in one of the most devastated areas, the Chi Alpha team brought a vanload of food to supply flood survivors with meals during the initial response. They helped clean flood-affected schools so children could return as soon as possible. Books, desks, computers and supplies were in complete ruins.
They could never have imagined the unprecedented response to this outreach. The Chi Alpha team members were invited by the Sri Lankan government into a prominent Buddhist temple to share stories of truth, encourage, and, most importantly, share the love of Christ with refugees of the flood. The local pastor, who has served this highly-persecuted area of Sri Lanka for over 25 years, was astounded at the barriers that were broken down by the team’s simple acts of love and service.
The week after the Chi Alpha team completed their relief work, the Ratnapura newspaper wrote that a team had come all the way from America to serve flood-impacted villages by cleaning up local schools. The partnering pastor was overjoyed with the positive effect the team had on his relationship with community leaders and on the public perception of Christians.
Think about the impact of this summer mission trip. Despite the challenging obstacles and circumstances they faced, they held onto the faithfulness of God. They modeled that faith does not look at the difficulties. They embodied a perspective and work ethic that faith does not look at itself, or the person or people exercising it. Their faith looked at God and they were motivated in joining with Him in His work in Sri Lanka. They discovered what God could do to address suffering and injustice. Their exercise of faith contributed to meeting the practical needs of people and resulted in God being praised.
Faith is interested in God alone and His glory. Faith is a measure of one’s knowledge of God and it results in action. As pastor James says, faith without works is dead.
Serve globally. Life is not always fair, but God is always faithful. Hold onto Him.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz