Your Faith is Great
How have you usually heard “faith” taught and proclaimed?Sometimes churches teach faith as though it were mental assent to certain theological statements like, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God,” or “I believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ.”
Mental assent is not how faith is portrayed in the story of the woman who refused to take no for an answer (Matthew 15:21-31). Nothing is said about whether or not the woman has a correct theology. Instead, she is praised because of her refusal to quit until her daughter has been made whole.She acts and won’t quit. For this she is told that her faith is great.
We pray for friends and for justice, reach out to kids with the gospel, work to make the world a better place, and often it seems we are ignored or told to go away or nothing ever changes. The temptation to quit can be strong. To keep on doing what we are doing because we believe what Jesus can do for people (if they would only let him) and because Christ has called us to do these things, to “keep on keeping on” is, according to this story, great faith.
–Dr. Mitzi Minor
- What are your favorite stories of faith in scripture? Why?
- Who have been heroes of faith for you in your lifetime?
- Have you ever thought, “What’s the point of feeding the hungry or praying for peace or giving to missions because nothing ever changed?”How does this story answer that question?
- How have you acted on your faith lately?
How Do I Act?
- Plan a study of faith in the New Testament. See if the portrayal of faith in the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman is typical of New Testament teaching.
- Share with other church members what you have learned in church that faith is. Note whether or not what you have learned matches what you discovered in scripture about what faith is.
- If faith is to be active, then we may learn more about our faith from watching Christians rather than from what they say. Adults in your church are models of faith for the young people. Do a month-long examination of how the adults are “acting out” their faith. Note how members treat one another, what activities are planned and how they are supported, what services are planned and how they are supported, how fervent the worship is. At the end of the month, grade yourselves on what kind of faith models you are.
- Share your observations from activity #3 with an adult Sunday school class. Talk together about being models of faith: What are you doing well? What are you doing poorly? etc. Discuss ways to improve the model you are presenting your young people. During all of the discussion, be in prayer for one another and those for whom you are being examples.