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Posts Tagged ‘sacrifce’

Wouldn’t it be great if I could get a reading on a “faith meter?” Or, maybe not. After all, if it only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain, my gauge would have to be in the millimeters.

James 2:22, 26
You see that his [Abraham’s] faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. . . . As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Abraham and Rahab are the two stories James recounts in chapter two as examples of the best partnership between faith and action. One for hearing God so clearly that Abraham journeyed up a mountain with the intention of sacrificing is son Isaac and the second, of a prostitute who paradoxically harbored and aided enemies of her city because she felt compelled by God to do so. These two acts registered hot on the faith meter.

As I was reading and contemplating these stories, I realized it wasn’t the acts themselves that threw the meter into the red zone, it was their willingness to act and follow through by hearing God. It was trust. Acts of faith are an outgrowth of the faith itself, the love of God, a relationship with depth and authenticity.

I’ve never been very fond of the Abraham/Isaac story. As a parent, I shudder at the very idea or contemplation of a blood sacrifice of my own child. How could Abraham be willing to do this? Human sacrifice was not even the norm of the One God believers. Wasn’t it a pagan practice of neighboring tribes and faiths? Or, maybe he never really believed that God wanted an actual sacrifice?

I remember having a similar attitude some years ago when my husband and I had recently adopted our two boys from Latvia and a few months later I had to travel to a library conference. My friend and colleague was a white knuckle flyer and I tried to calm her by proclamation.

“It’s not my time to die.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Simple, I don’t believe God would orphan my children twice.”

Perhaps Abraham had locked his faith into that earlier promise that would be fulfilled through Isaac. Perhaps.

But here’s the point: the actions, the deeds, the works of love and self-sacrifice, the expressions of kindness, and the selfless sharing of worldly goods . . . these are the measuring sticks of faith.

Faith without expression is a mere concept.

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