Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bumper Sticker Reflection: Faith

Bumper stickers, and the virtual equivalent (Facebook memes), are ultimately about identity.  People share these quips most often because they identify with the message.  The message can be humorous, thought provoking, etc.  But often they are skin deep.  Theology in this format generally strikes me as incomplete.  One might say, of course it is incomplete--its a picture.  However, the problem is when we become too lazy to consider what would make the message more complete.  If our understanding of God is lacking, so too will the resources of our faith be lacking when we most need them.  Therefore, I will occasionally be inviting more thought and conversation about the types of things you likely come across on your Facebook wall and your daily commute. 

Here we have a definition of FAITH: Forwarding All Issues To Heaven...

This acronym can powerful because it touches where we often find ourselves--holding onto anxiety about a host of issues in our lives.  The suggestion is that if we walk by faith we forward those anxious issues to God, or rather, to heaven--where it is presumed God resides.

The word "faith" is from the Greek pistis (n.), pisteuo (v.), or pistos (adj.).  I share these three to show that they really are all the same root, and mean everything from intellectual belief, trust, convinced, to being trustworthy, displaying confidence, etc.  So if I have faith, I could simply believe something to be true, or entrust something to someone, or behave in a way that inspires trust in me.

"Forwarding All Issues To Heaven" captures a partial picture of faith.  Indeed, the ability to let go of what is bothering us and entrust those things to a God who has offered to carry our burdens is quite appropriate.  However, to suggest that by doing so we send the issues away to a place called heaven would imply that Christians simply do not and should not worry about things going on in our immediate context.  The neighbor across the street can't provide food for their child (do we forward the issue to heaven?). 

Jesus seemed pretty clear that by walking in faith we may find ourselves taking on issues we otherwise did not have.  On Sunday we will discuss the scripture where a scribe proclaimed to Jesus that he would follow wherever Jesus would go (surely a demonstration of faith), but Jesus warns "foxes have holes, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20).  In other words--if you are serious about faith, you will be inheriting issues you do not currently have.

We do not serve an aloof God who is in a far away safe place where we can simply send our cares away never to meet them again.  Rather Heaven seems a two way street--we may entrust our cares to heaven, but God sends them back down that we might have heaven on earth.  By faith we entrust our burdens to God, and by faith we walk with the Holy Spirit to stare down those very burdens that threaten to separate people from God. 

So yes, let us forward our issues to Heaven; but with the expectation that heaven is coming to us.  By faith we need not face life alone, but by faith we will face it, and in Christ overcome.

In What Ways are you learning to walk by Faith?


  1. This reminds me of a bumper sticker I've seen: "Let go, let God." It always speaks to me, as does your "FAITH" meme, because one of my problems is wanting to control things myself rather than let God take control. When Jesus speaks to "you of little faith" in Matthew 6:25-33, he's reminding us to have faith that God will provide, to let our worries go. Kind of the same thing as forwarding all issues to heaven, isn't it?

    1. Absolutely--So Jesus is saying, don't be of little faith, trust your necessities into the hand of God. Don't worry about clothes, food, etc--you Father knows you need them and will provide them. So that is part of faith--trust; and God's trustworthiness to provide.

      But, letting go of such worries provides freedom to follow in ways that may make most uncomfortable. By telling the disciples not to worry about tomorrow, Jesus is calling them to become fully faithful to today. Shortly after ch. 6, Jesus sends the disciples on mission telling them "so don’t gather gold or silver or copper coins for your money belts to take on your trips. Don’t take a backpack for the road or two shirts or sandals or a walking stick" (Matthew 10: 9-10) One aspect of "Faith" leads to another. Trust in God leads to faithfulness to God--when we embrace "Faith" completely.