Here is the first of what I promised….responses on why faith matters. Adam is a friend of mine, also in seminary, also wanting to be a pastor. He’s currently doing his pastoral internship in Denver, CO. He grew up in the Western suburbs of the Twin Cities area. You can check out his blog here. Adam speaks about what faith means, from the place of his own story……
I’m almost always hesitant to tell people why faith matters to me because I’m almost always positive it’s going to come off as a load of crap.
I’d like to tell you all sorts of reasons why faith matters to me because of my belief in God, my belief that Christ went to the cross for me to free me from the power of sin and bring me to eternal life or my belief that the Holy Spirit continues to work through me and in the world and gives me that faith. For me, that is all true. I believe every one of those words.
I just don’t think it’s why faith matters to me. And for some reason it feels wrong to say so.
Maybe a better question than, “Why does faith matter to you?” would be “Why haven’t you given up on faith?” or “What keeps you rooted in faith?”
My favorite Bible passage comes from Colossians 2:6-7 and goes like this: “So therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”
I think why faith matters to me, why I haven’t given up on faith, is because of how faith has been taught to me. I don’t mean taught as in the classroom or Sunday school kind of teaching. I mean the way faith has been taught to me through the relationships and the people who have shown me how faith is lived out. I have a few stories that I’d like to share to illustrate what I’m talking about.
Shortly after my grandmother passed away, I attended my high school youth group on the following Sunday night. I was doing just fine until we sang ‘Amazing Grace’ and I couldn’t hold in the sadness any longer. I left the room, went and sat on a nearby staircase and cried. A youth minister I had become close to came and sat next to me, put his arm around my shoulder and sat in silence as I cried. After close to five minutes he turned to me and said, “I just prayed for you,” and he got up and returned to the room. Faith mattered in that moment. It’s all we had.
My parents and I were cleaning out some closets in my grandparents’ old house and deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. In one of the closets was a safe and in the safe were stacks and stacks of old checks that my grandfather had written. Thinking not too much of it, we began looking through the recipients of these checks and began to notice a pattern. Hundreds and thousands of dollars over the course of years given to local churches, charities and funds my grandparents were involved with and supported. There were even a few written out to their grandchildren. As a young teenager, I learned what faith looked like lived out in the world. I got a glimpse of why faith mattered and why it continues to matter.
I have a friend who doesn’t believe in God. He doesn’t believe in much of anything when it comes to religion, especially not what Christians are putting forward. We’ve had many conversations about why this is and it always comes down questions that begin with, “How could I believe in…?” Believe in a God who lets these things happen. Believe in a church who believes these kinds of things. Believe in a book that says what it says. How could I believe in that? Amen, brother. I’ve never met a man who was more faithful to his family than he is. I’ve never met a man more faithful to his best friend, his wife-to-be. I’ve never met a person more faithful to the people he loves and to the things that mean the most in his life. Faith matters to him, it just doesn’t look the same. I learn faith from him.
I don’t give up on faith because faith is so embedded in my being that I’m convinced that without faith there would be no life within me. Faith matters to me because it matters to those whom I love and respect so dearly that to let go of faith would be to let go of the very relationships that give me that faith in the first place. I remain rooted in faith because of the way I have been taught faith, through Christ, yes, but through Christ in others, through Christ in those who may not believe in Christ.
So therefore, just as I have received Christ Jesus as my Lord and Savior, the Son of God, I will continue to live my life in Him, rooted and built up in Him, but strengthened in the faith that I am taught not only by Christ but by those whom Christ works within, those who change the way I look at the world, those who show me what faith really means.
And I will abound in thanksgiving knowing that sometimes faith just matters because it matters. And that answer is sufficient enough.