Life At Its Best: Living with faith that inspires action
When I was in college, I minored in theological historical studies. I didn't choose this minor because I was a Bible scholar. In fact, as a new Christian, I probably knew less about the Bible than most people there.
I decided to study it because I saw how much the world was changing, and I wanted to know where the church fit amidst these changes.
Throughout my study of church history, I realized it progressed through times of great influence and times of lesser influence in society. I wondered what caused the church to experience these transitions. Then I asked myself a question I believe we all should ask ourselves today: What is it going to take to make the church a central part of society right now?
Isaiah gives us the answer in 58:10. The people are asking him why they continue to fast and pray, yet see no change in society. He answers that, "If you spend yourself on behalf of the hungry, if you satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like noonday."
Isaiah is telling us that change doesn't happen just because we pray and believe; it happens because we act. God has called us to be a light to the darkness. And when we show the world that we truly care about meeting their needs, we can see that darkness expelled.
I know a woman who teaches at a school in town. Years ago, she had a student who lost some of his mental abilities because of a bad reaction to a certain medication.
As his grades began slipping, he became extremely frustrated. So, rather than trying, he would simply write the words "dumb" on his paper and hand it in. When his teacher saw this, she asked to see him after class.
She told him that instead of writing "dumb" on his paper she wanted him to write, "Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." She began speaking into his life and encouraging the gifts she saw inside of him.
Well, not only did that little boy pass her class, but he went on to graduate from high school and college, finishing with a master's degree. Today, he pastors a great church in Fort Worth.
Why did he find success? I believe it's largely because he had a teacher who not only believed he could change, but who took action to see that change come to pass. A pastor I greatly admire once said, "The first reformation was about creeds, but this one is going to be about our deeds."
In other words, we won't reach society because of what we believe. We'll reach it because of what we do. If we couple our faith with action, we'll begin to see the darkness disappear and those around us enter into God's best.
Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.