Monday, January 31, 2011

Is It Possible to Believe?

They replied, "We want to perform God's works, too. What should we do?"
Jesus told them, "This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent."
                                                                                                            John 6:28-29

On the surface, it sounds so simple. But we would much rather do God's works than to believe in Jesus. 

We are creatures of action. We get our worth from doing things. It's the way our society values people. That's why children and older adults are not respected in our society.  They aren't the doers. Think about it. Children play and older adults are retired. We don't value play or retirement unless there is accomplishment in either. 

As Christians, we are more comfortable with a task to do than with this call to believe. Belief implies faith and faith implies waiting and waiting is not easy for us. We are used to meeting our own needs, not asking God to meet them. Shane Claiborne says we don't see miracles because we do it ourselves. If we need food we buy it. If we need healing we go to the doctor. We save for retirement instead of trusting God to provide, and while we are saving for retirement, the great need of the world now goes unmet.

Why don't we simply believe?
Believe that Jesus is the bread of life?
Believe that God will give us all we need?
Believe that miracles can and do happen?

Can I ever truly believe while living in this society? Trusting God for everything seems outlandish, radical, downright crazy. 

But Jesus say it is the only work God wants from us.

Can we even comprehend what our churches would be like if people really believe God would give us everything we need? I've sat in far too many finance committee meetings to know that this kind of belief is not prevalent in our church, and I expect in other churches as well. Because we don't have that kind of belief we also don't have sacrificial, some would say reckless, giving. We hold onto our resources because we don't believe God will provide.

I can hear folks saying, "Well remember the story of the woman on the roof in a flood who drowned because she was waiting for God to save her?" Is that the "gospel" we choose to believe? 

Jesus said anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God. Every time I fail to believe that God will provide, I am looking back.

Is it possible to live in this society and believe, when everything around us discourages us from belief?

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