Reviewing and renewing Biblical faith through story and study

Monday, June 26, 2006

The gift of faith

As far back as I can remember my Mom always said she wasn't sure what her spiritual gift was. We were all pretty sure that it was hospitality because she could feed every kid on the block and still be smiling!

But, one day early in my ministry, I was reading through the passages on spiritual gifts and came upon 1 Corintians 12.

1 Corintians 12:7-11 (NIV)
"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. . . . to another faith by the same Spirit. . All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines."

As I read the bit about faith being a spiritual gift, and noticed that it is very clear that not every person gets every gift, I had a de-ja-vous experience.

My Mom has never doubted her God. She has, from the time she was a little girl living in an atheistic home, always known that God exists, loves her and has a plan for her life. She has told us (her kids) story after story of the times that her faith was rewarded.

And I often wondered, "Why don't I have that faith?!" In my last year of studying theology I went to the systematic theology lecturer and said, "You know what theology is?" He was kind enough to ask me for my definition to which I replied, "It's the thinking Christians way of avoiding is Christ given responsiblities!" He told me that wasn't fair, and then asked me, "So, what's really bothering you?"

Smart man. :)

I told him that I wasn't sure God even existed. He said something pretty simple in reply. But it really helped. He said, "Dave, you've been studying the Bible too much. Stop studying it and just go read it. Pick a book and read it through. Then come back and tell me if there is a God."

I picked Esther. Because God is never mentioned. But my streategy didn't work. I was overwhelmed by the presence of God in Esther's life.

Faith is a gift that some people are blessed with and others live with a small measure of. I get my faith through others. The more time I spend with faith rich people, the more my faith is encoraged. I also get my faith through telling the story. The more I confess faith in Christ and tell the stories from His Word the more in tune I am with him.