Monday, September 08, 2008

Faith Sightings

. . . They went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus (Luke 5:19).

Jesus saw their faith. And if he saw theirs he can see mine. Or can he?

Theirs was obvious. Their faith was evident as they ripped a hole in the ceiling above Jesus’ head. They were bold in their determination to place their paralyzed friend before Jesus. They were unshakable in their conviction that Jesus could do something, that Jesus could redefine reality.

That kind of thing is hard to miss. It’s go-for-broke, nothing-held-back behavior. What is it that motivates this kind of living? Faith. Jesus looked up and saw their faith.

I’m not ripping holes in too many rooftops these days. When I served a small congregation in southern Oklahoma, I would occasionally go out and knock tentatively on peoples’ front doors. I’ll be honest – that wasn’t an act of faith. That was fear. I was afraid of empty seats on Sunday morning, of failure, of being sent back to Fort Worth and told that it wouldn’t be necessary for me to drive up again next weekend.

I don’t knock on doors anymore, but I don’t climb up on rooftops either. I read this story from Luke 5 and I wonder how Jesus will see my faith. Maybe it’s a question for you to ask of your own life.

To read Luke’s story of Jesus healing the paralytic is to come away with a definition of faith that looks like this: Faith is a way of living that factors Jesus into every circumstance of your life, and then behaves accordingly. Faith is behavior that expects Jesus to make a difference.

You may not be tearing holes in rooftops – but maybe you can make a list of what others will see when faith is at work, shaping your life. Here’s my short list.

Prayer: People may not actually observe this, but I know that when faith is at work in my life I pray more often about more things. Prayer is a way to rip a hole in the roof and bring someone or something directly to Jesus. Prayer is an exercise that works the muscle of faith and makes it stronger.

Laughter: When faith is at work in my life I think I’m less tense, less prone to stress out over things that aren’t going like I thought they would or should go. When you’re really convinced that God has your day in hand, you’ll stress less and laugh more.

Really pay attention to other people: Maybe we can look for signs of faith in others, search out what God is doing in their lives. If Jesus is at work, he’s at work everywhere. Faith means listening to someone’s story, asking a thoughtful question about them. A self-consumed life doesn’t have room for others.

That’s a start. There’s more to add to the list. What might you add? How will faith be seen in your life today?

Help me today, Lord Jesus, to live as if you are present and actively involved in my life and in my world. Give me the kind of faith that others can see, and may my life point them to you – the one in whom all faith rests. Amen.

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