1 Thessalonians 1:3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is nothing more arduous than faith. That may come as a surprise to some of you, but the first step into what I believe is God's will, for me is always accompanied by doubts of myself. Can I do this? What happens if I fail?
My mom and dad sat at our cheap laminated dining table, beneath a yellow tungsten lamp. They were reading the missive from a missionary in Peru, who had been chasing my father for years with pleas to join the same mission and "come serve". Now this fellow was nowhere near the field of my pater's work, but they had been close friends in college and now the letter on the brown surface was the culmination of at least a dozen, "come over and help us" messages from the man in a jungle thousands of miles away.
It's an enormous job, driving from town to town, presenting the message of missions to churches, most of which are attended by folks just as poor as my broadcast engineer father. Radio in the 60's wasn't a windfall of cash for even station owners. My father usually worked two jobs at any radio station for which he labored, on air, and the back room circuit board repair.
But now, he and my mom had decided, it was time, and over the next two years, applied to Wycliffe Bible Translators, then a still painfully youthful board of folks just like my parents, middle class volunteers who would raise their own support by presenting the work, leaving the decision prayerfully in the hands of a local mission board. Very few missionaries become wealthy, and those who do, have saved for decades to provide the income they each need when they retire.
Faith? I know 6000 people scattered around the world in dangerous remote places where sometimes existence is hand to mouth some months. It was for us. But by that same faith, we prayed and let go. I have lived most of my life by faith, even today, with a job in a ministry, I know that unless I pray for the ministry, my very job could evaporate.
Lord, teach us what faith is, because we do forget and attempt to take control repeatedly, our hearts fainting in the face of uncertainty and persecution. We quiver at times, frail and afraid. We don't often see behind the veil.