Each week Pastor Sarah offers a devotional reflection to connect with the South Shore UMC Family. Use this entry as a way to prepare your heart and mind for worship. See you Sunday!
Sunday’s Scripture ~ II Corinthians 9:5b-9.
Devotional Scripture ~ Luke 7:8.
This Sunday, Rev. Dave Owsley will share with the South Shore UMCommunity about how stewardship is joyful. I am deeply grateful for Pastor Dave's ministry partnership and his commitment to serving God at South Shore. May God fill you with grace and peace as you prepare and lead!
Sometimes my faith takes God at God’s Word. This is faith like the Roman Centurion had. He believed that if Jesus only said the word that his servant would be healed.
And sometimes my faith wants empirical evidence. This is the faith like Thomas following the resurrection. Thomas was not with the disciples when Jesus initially appeared. He would not believe in Jesus’ resurrection in completeness until he saw the holes in Jesus’ hands and the gash in Jesus’ side. Having gained his empirical evidence, Thomas answered Jesus, “My Lord and my God! Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” (Jn 20:28-29).
The 20th Chapter of John concludes with these words, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name” (vv. 30-31). This Gospel was written so that we would be among those that have not seen and yet have come to believe.
It is ironic that when considering Scripture - the miracles it shares and the truths it reveals - I am quick to take God at God’s Word, and yet in my own life, I often want the assurance of the empirical evidence. I want the neon lights saying Yes! This way! Or No! Go back! Or Wait! It is the next opportunity, I promise!
Have you heard the phrase, “take a leap of faith?” It points to the truth that we can only take reason, knowledge, and logic so far. Eventually we will come to a precipice where we have one of three options:
We go back - we regress.
We stay where we are - we stagnate…and what stagnates, dies.
We move forward - we leap in faith.
I will not always have the empirical evidence I desire for my faith. And yet I feel deeply in my bones when I reflect on my relationship with God and reflect on the relationships with God told in Scripture that God does not want me - or us - regressing or stagnating. God wants me - wants us - moving forward. God wants us leaping forward in faith.
Some days we will take God at God’s Word. Other days we will want empirical evidence for our faith. I pray there are more days that we are more the faithful people that believe though we have not seen, and that through believing, we will have life in Jesus’ name.
Reflection: Is there any area of your faith where you most struggle to take God at God’s Word? Write out a prayer asking God to show you God’s faithfulness and asking God to reveal where God desires you leap in faith next.
Prayer: "Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him! All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him! Let the amen sound from his people again; gladly forever adore him."* Amen.
*”Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” The United Methodist Hymnal 139.
**Devotional Resource: The Weekly Faith Project by Zondervan.