The Unfaithful Faithful

In his book entitled Grow Your Church From the Outside In, George Barna, who is an expert in church related statistical studies and analysis, spends a lot of time comparing churched and unchurched people. I was struck by the way he introduced a chapter about the faith of the unchurched.
“Every time they step on the brakes of their cars, they exhibit tremendous faith in gadgets that most of them know nothing about. Each time they go out in public, they demonstrate faith in the behavior and morals of humankind, believing they will not be shot or mugged. When they take a bite of food that has been prepared in a restaurant by a chef they never see or do not know, they show the faith that they possess, believing that it was properly cooked and not poisoned. Each time they make a bank deposit, they engage in an act of faith, believing that their money will be returned to them, perhaps with interest. The issue is not whether they have faith; rather, it is where they place their faith.”
We may not think of people who are not part of the church as people who have faith. Barna illustrates that they are actually quite faithful, just not to the God we know. Unfortunately, that can be true of many of us too. We place our greatest faith in the wrong things. We can be blind to what we really need. The title of this article could really apply to either group who put their faith in the wrong place.
In Acts 3, we find the story of a beggar who was unable to walk and thought money was his greatest need. Peter and John did not have money to give, but they had something much greater to offer: healing. Instead of just getting a little more money to get by, his life was changed that day. His reaction in verse 8 is wonderful. “He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.” While the man focused on one need, Peter fulfilled a need that seemed unfixable. Are we placing our faith in the things of this world, or do we instead jump to our feet and praise the God who loves us and knows what we need?
– Brian

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