June 2014

Living by Faith

Everyone has faith. We drink water out of a faucet, with confidence it is safe. We eat food in a restaurant, confident that it is not contaminated.  We sit in chair, with the confidence that it will hold us up. We receive our pay in the form of a check that has no intrinsic value at all.  We put our faith in a surgeon, though we have little expertise in medicine ourselves.  Everyone who lives has faith- the question is who or what do you put your faith in.  

The New Testament Greek word for “faith” simply means belief, trust, or confidence. It implies an inner confidence and conviction that God will fulfill His promises. Ray Stedman says, “Faith simply believes that God's view of a matter is true no matter what ‘everybody else’ says.” Chuck Swindoll defines faith as "confidence in God; the firm conviction that He is at work and will come through on our behalf." 

Keith Miller tells this story in his book, The Edge of Adventure." The following letter was found in a baking powder can wired to the handle of an old pump that offered the only hope for drinking water on a very long and seldom-used trail across the Armargosa Desert: "This pump is all right as of June 1932.  I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years.  But the washer dries out and the pump has to be primed.  Under the white rock, I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and cork end up.  There is enough water in it to prime the pump, but not enough if you drink some first.  Pour about one fourth and let her soak to wet the leather, then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy.  You'll git water.  The well has never run dry. Have faith.  When you git watered up, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next feller. 
         - Desert Pete

What would you do if you came across this pump? What a person does would reveal much about his/her faith. Faith is not just an academic subject for discussion or a theological term from the Bible; it is something on which our very life hinges.  As reflected in the story, faith is evidently composed of three ingredients: 

1.  The first ingredient to faith is the object
If you were a lonely traveler on that parched desert trail, you would have to trust in an unknown person named Desert Pete to keep from drinking the bottle of buried water. That would not be easy.  He is a person you do not know. Yet, faith is trust in someone or something, based on evidence, but not infallible proof.  And the object of one's faith is more important than the amount of faith. I can have a lot of faith in an inch of ice that covers a lake. Yet, if I walk out onto that ice, I will end up wet. And I can have a tiny bit of faith in a 12 inch thick lake. Even with my little faith, if I walk out onto the ice, I will stay high and dry.  So it is with God and His Word; the strength and stability reside in Him and His promises.  

2. The second ingredient to faith is risk
Faith is always costly.  If you were walking down that trail without water, there would be nothing more precious to you at that time than a bottle of water.  Desert Pete tells you that if you drink any part of the bottle of water, you won't have enough to get water from the pump.  God often tells us to take a risk; to do things that are the opposite of our natural inclination. 

3. The third ingredient to faith is work
Some people have mistakenly interpreted faith as a substitute for work.  Faith is not laziness. Desert Pete reminds us that after we trust and risk, we have to pump hard!  Having the world greatest faith will do you no good unless you act on it.  People who want milk shouldn't sit on a stool in the middle of a field in hopes that a cow will back up to them. 

George Bernanos said this about the affect of faith in The Diary of a Country Priest, "Faith is not something one loses; we merely cease to shape our lives by it." Is faith shaping your lives?                     
                                                                                                                            -Pastor Mike Kotrla