Tonight my daughter posed an interesting question.
“Daddy,” she says, “what’s the difference between faith, and faith in action?”
Heck, I was stumped for a second. I’ve never actually had to define faith, let alone faith-in-action. So to stall for time ( I had to maintain my Dad-knows-everything stance), I turned to my piano and feigned studying my music theory book, whilst secretly digging in the recesses of my mind for an answer to her question. I came up with this generic answer.
“Faith is hope, honey. Its hope that…what you really want to happen, will happen, someday.”
She nodded. I dodged a bullet with that answer, so I continued.
“Faith in action is…its…oh, how do I want to say it; its the act of working toward your hope. You see?”
She shook her head. Lost her with that one.
“Okay, here’s an example. I love to write. I think I’m pretty good at it, and my hope is that someday the Lord takes my writing to new heights. I have the faith that God put the ability to write, in me; that He did it for a specific reason. I have faith that my writing ability is no accident and that the day will come when someone spreads my writing out for the whole world to read.”
She nodded again. We’re back on the same page.
“Now because of my faith, in my God given ability, I try to write often. I write even when I don’t feel like writing, because I have the responsibility to work toward my hope coming true. Sometimes I don’t know where to go, to best display my talent, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to continue writing. If I want God to do something with my talent, I can’t sit around and wait for it to make itself happen. I have to do my part. That’s faith in action.”
My daughter pondered for a moment, then nodded. “Okay.” she said.
Now, I’m not sure if she actually got the point or not, but I walked away from that conversation with one heck of a revelation. Sometimes, it does get frustrating for me to try so hard at what I believe in, only to have my dreams put on hold time and again. Maybe this publisher didn’t identify with my characters. Perhaps this agent didn’t see a market niche for my particular style of story telling. I actually had one christian publisher tell me that my submitted story displayed too much christianity for them. They were looking to reach out to the undecided and didn’t want to risk scaring them off with excessive biblical jargon.
So it does get hard sometimes, because I believe in what I do. But in my humanity, the weight of rejection is too much to bare at times. I shut down, and walk away from my craft. I choose to wait for opportunity to kick in my front door and grab me by the collar.
‘C’mon! Hop on my back. We’re going to Easy Street. Don’t worry about lifting a finger because I’ll just carry you there.’
Yeah, that’s gonna happen. God knows my heart, though. He knows just how to motivate me. Tonight, He gave me a little gem to remind me to get off my lazy bum, and get back in the writing game.
Faith without action is dead faith. Faith in action is living faith. Faith waiting for a miracle can lie idle for a lifetime. Faith in motion can plow a hole through a mountain-side. People with little faith and lack of ambition live lives filled with regret. Believers acting on faith lead joyful lives of constant anticipation, eagerly preparing for the life they know is coming around the corner.
Someday, the name Ennis Smith will be well known in the christian writing community. God’s going to take my words of praise, lift them up high, and let them sprinkle down onto the new believer; the lost soul fighting for direction; and the discouraged backslider searching for a reason to come back to Jesus. He won’t do it because of my efforts. No. He’ll do it simply because He wants to glorify Himself through talent that He created. In so doing, souls just might be won over. I sure would love to be a part of that.
That’s why my faith is in action.