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A Confession

I don’t want a life that requires much faith. 

I know that this is not the kind of thing a pastor should confess on the world wide web, especially when most people would prefer a super-pastor,  full of faith and God mo-jo.  Certainly not something you admit when starting a new church, hoping to attract new folks.  But, it’s true, and I suspect not just true about me.  I would rather have a life that is so secure, so safe and set that it requires  little faith to live it.  Sure, even the safest life requires some faith, but not much.

Becoming a church planter at this stage of my life has revealed this desire for a faith-less life.  A Jewish friend, who in the last few years has raised millions of dollars to build a new community center said to me last week, “This is the worst time to start something new.”  The subtext?  “You must not be very smart, or worse, you must be so full of hubris that you think that you can defy gravity.”  No doubt, I am more than capable of not being very smart, and of being full of hubris.  That’s not false humility, by the way, that’s the voice of experience, which is one thing that I do have at this stage of my life – experience.

I planted a church many years ago that grew to  have a great congregation, great staff, great facilities, great ministries, a great reputation in the community.  I’ve most recently served a great church with incredible resources, with an incredible history, an incredible platform of ministry. 

Starting over, so to speak, without many props, without certainty of success – well, frankly, it requies a little more faith than I would prefer.  Don’t get me wrong – it has great people involved, and it is a blast to see their faith expand and erupt into love for Jesus, for his purposes in this world, and for others.  But, it still requires a lot more faith than usual.  In this current economy with so many lay-offs and cutbacks, plenty of people are having to walk by more faith than usual.

Here’s the thing I’ve realized, though.  My natural inclination to have a secure life that needs little faith ends up being a life that needs very little God, either.  That’s the deadly part of security and safety, we get used to living without God.  There’s no need for God to show up.  “All set, Lord,” becomes our silent, unconscious prayer.

So, increasingly, I’m thankful for a faith-required life because it becomes a God-present life.  What about you?  Does your life require a little faith, or a lot of faith?  Not meant to be an insensitive question if your life has crashed.  Meant to be a challenging question if you are safer than you should be.

Comments

  1. Mark,

    I relate with you completely on this. Midtown in Atlanta was much the same way. Our only difference is that I went into the world of Executive Recruting, first for Lucas Group and then on my own. Sensing God’s call on our lives, Angie and I moved up here last August — and you can ask a lot of people, the series of events to follow have been, well interesting.

    Have faith. You have done and will do a great work. God is already smiling at what is ahead!

  2. mark…

    made my way over here from SCL. the subject matter of this post is resonating with me in a tremendous way at the moment. God’s been kicking my rear end all week about these very things. thanks for vocalizing what i’ve been internalizing. praying for you, brother.

  3. Last year I was (I thought) in good health, my husband making big bucks and my child heading off to a Christian college. Six months ago I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, my husband’s job is coming to an end and my son’s choices for after High School are stretching me. I recently had a conversation with my husband and said, “We are having to believe God for some BIG things” He just smiled and said it’s not big stuff to God. I can’t even put words to how sweet the journey has been and how faithful God has been. I would not wish for any of these challenges, but this place of faith is so much richer. Oh for grace to trust him more! Blessings on your leap of faith. I don’t think that we as Christians do that often enough.

  4. Thanks for the insight, Mark. I think it is our natural tendency to live without faith, and worse yet without hope. Thankfully, God still loves us and that’s not based on performance.