When you enter the foyer of my home, you see a circle staircase that will take you up to my sanctuary. To the right of it is the word art my son and daughter-in-law gave to me for Mother’s Day. It says, “The Greatest of These is Love.” Bob and I appreciate so much the fact that our children see in us the LOVE which is a gift from God, who first loved us. That love is born of FAITH – another Gift from God.
A recent sermon at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, Montana was a follow-up to the previous Sunday’s Trinity message. Rev. Jean Johnson explained that understanding the concept of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit was a matter of Faith… only obtained from God. Not something we could work to obtain by ourselves.
Like LOVE, we receive faith from our Heavenly Father, and as Christians we learn how to LIVE it by studying the life of the Son, Jesus Christ. When we need a “refill,” we go to the Holy Spirit who is our Teacher and Guide here on earth. Today’s sermon contrasted FAITH based on such a gift with faith borne out of reasoning and pragmatic expectations. Here is what the sermon said to me. I took these “notes” while listening intently:
WHAT is FAITH?
Faith is not the product of reasoning.
Faith is a gift from God, our Father.
The skeptics question our beliefs –
And so do some sisters and brothers in Christ.
What does Faith give to me?
What do I get out of it?
Some Christian leaders teach that it is “utilitarian.”
Faith is good because it’s useful.
Pragmatism is a dominating force in the U.S.A.
It is the basis of our consumer society.
Pragmatists go beyond “What IS it?”
They go to “What is it good FOR?”
Some feel FAITH is magic words like “I Believe”
or “Eternal Life is mine.”
When pragmatists hit a crisis,
They give up on Faith; it failed them!
What IS the value of Faith?
Is it what it produces for us?
Most of us believe God is more than
A helpful idea that makes us feel better.
He is more than the Great Granter of wishes.
God is Good… All the time!
Even when our needs are not being fulfilled.
Is Jesus of value for what He can do for you?
Is Faith about getting what you need to make life worth living?
Or is FAITH about a relationship with God?
Prayer is not just a self-help therapy.
Prayer is about listening and praising.
It’s not just about talking and asking!
Do not surrender to pragmatism.
Receive the gift of faith from God.
Pray to listen for God’s desires – and SERVE.
What can I do for God?
What can God do IN me?
God’s tenacious desire to talk to me and love me…