Try living and seeing faith, not just sight

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2006

As we went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, &8220;This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.&8221; But he answered them, &8220;You give them something to eat.&8221;

&045;Mark 6

There were three strong echoes of Scripture that came through to me during a recent trip to hold medical clinics in four rural and very poor Mexican villages last week. And they all three had to do with the fact that it matters far less what we see with our eyes than what we hear with the ears of our faith.

What we could see over and over last week was what disciples could see that day with Jesus. The needs and the number of people appeared overwhelming. &8220;Where are we going to get food for this many?&8221; Or medicines or eyeglasses, in our case?

Yet time and again last week, just when we needed them, people or money or eyeglasses or medicine or food or transportation showed up. There was no fanfare, no spectacular miracles, no lightning. Rather, in the simplest acts &8212; like breaking bread to give to others or reaching into boxes of glasses and medicines &8212; we were able to provide what seemed impossible to imagine.

Which is the second point, that it really doesn&8217;t matter what we see in ourselves or others with our own eyes. In fact, we are called to see the image of God in others who are not in our image. We were in an interesting group this past week: North American, Mexican, Cuban, Huastecan. We spoke several languages. But the one overriding factor was not how we appeared in one another&8217;s eyes, but how we are seen in God&8217;s eyes.

And in God&8217;s eyes, it was clear that we are all called to be servants of one another as servants of Jesus Christ last week. Everyone put something in. Everyone went home more content than when we arrived. The walls of hostility that divide people and nationals were lowered a little more by the power of the Gospel last week.

It leads to the third point, namely that it is not the place we see on the map that makes for &8220;mission&8221; on behalf of God. Probably the best missionaries are simply people who enjoy living in another part of the world &8212; with one distinctive difference. They are willing to live without the security of home and what is familiar to our eyes.

These trips pull us away from our base of security. We have to step out to be with others without all our questions answered. That&8217;s what being a missionary is because it is what being a disciple is. We still see what our eyes see &8212; but we trust that what God sees and what God says are what really matter. And so we go, walking and serving not by what our eyes tell us but by faith in the God who calls and tells us to follow.

Robert Montgomery serves as preaching minister of Cahaba Valley Church.

Robert Montgomery serves as preaching minister of Cahaba Valley Church