Winterville United Methodist Church

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

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Aug 15: Hebrews 11:29-12:2 "By Faith"

            Faith…what is it?  Is it blind following?  Does it mean unexamined, unthoughtful patterns of living like putting our hands up and saluting the leader who turns out to be Hitler in disguise?   Certainly not!

            Instead faith—the Christian faith is about putting faith and trust in the one who has proven ultimately faithful, ultimately dependable—the one who has shown over and over and over again that he has our best interests at heart.

            Faith—is it an insurance policy?  Is it protection against bad things coming our way—storms, floods, loss, and pain?  Certainly not!

            In fact the Bible is clear that bad things visit themselves upon the just and the unjust.  They simply are a part of life in this world.  And what’s more in certain instances faith—when we cling to it in situations where we are surrounded by opponents to faith—sometimes makes us objects of rejection and even persecution.

            Is it something that very few people in the world ever are able to realize or to cultivate in their lives, and if so are these persons to be put on a pedestal and admired for their great faith?  Are they deserving of accolades and pats on the back?  No. 

Paul worried that when human beings would talk about faith they would describe it as something completely from within, something of their own doing—and therefore as something DESERVING of pats on the back.  He wholeheartedly rejected such a notion, and in response he described it as a GIFT from God!           

Does it guarantee a prize?  Is it like a lottery ticket?  We put dollar after dollar into it with the hopes of finally gaining the big prize money?  No, of course not—although gaining the prize, winning the race, and finishing the course in faith certainly are analogies that we claim in the Christian life.  The prize, though, is not winning the lottery or achieving fame or fortune.  Instead it is about the prize of another world—a home in heaven.  It is about hearing words from God at the end of our lives, “Well, done, good and faithful servant!”  Thanks be to God who enables a life of faith and who provides for us a home in heaven when our time on earth is done!

 

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