**Disclaimer: In no way am I being paid or compensated for the following post. This is just my personal opinion of a book (other than the Bible) that has challenged me to be better.**
I just finished reading Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom. I think once I got through Happiness, I needed to read the rest of the story. (The basic premise of the story goes like this: Mitch is asked by Reb, his childhood rabbi, to give the eulogy at his funeral. Mitch says yes but that he would need to get to know the Reb better as a person and not just a clergyman. Thus, for the next eight, yes, eight, years, Mitch and the Reb spend time together getting to know each other. Also interwoven is the story of Pastor Henry and how he came through addiction and a life of crime to become the pastor of I Am My Brother’s Keeper Ministries. Through his meetings with the Reb, Mitch starts a foundation that helps organizations that help the homeless and through that, Mitch comes to know Pastor Henry and so all three men are interwoven together.) As soon as I completed the book, I felt/heard three little words: measure of faith. So I grabbed my NIV Concordance and looked it up and it brought me to Romans 12:3 –
For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
My pastor once spoke about the measure of faith during one of his sermons and it basically went something like this:
God gives us a certain amount of faith to believe once we come to Him, but we need to build on that faith to continue to walk with Him. The faith we have today should be greater than the measure of faith we had yesterday but less than tomorrow for tomorrow we should have built upon today’s faith.
Pretty simple concept right?
Not so fast.
How is one to build on their faith?
Prayer. Reading the Word. Believing that even when we can’t see God, He is always there. Praising Him in the good and the not so good. Truly believing that everything He does and allows us to do in this life are for our good.
After reading this boo,k though, I felt more like Mitch Albom than the Reb or Pastor Henry. And I’m still active in my church! Here is a passage from Have a Little Faith. Mitch had just met with Pastor Henry who for the last 16 years of his life ministered to a small congregation in a dilapidated church and prior to that was an addict drug dealer who had also served some time in prison. This is what Mitch thought after he left Pastor Henry’s house:
I used to think I knew everything. I was a “smart person” who “got things done,” and because of that, the higher I climbed, the more I could look down and scoff at what seemed silly or simple, even religion.
But I realized something as I drove home that night: that I am neither better nor smarter, only luckier. And I should be ashamed of thinking I knew everything, because you can know the whole world and still feel lost in it. So many people are in pain — no matter how smart or accomplished — they cry, they yearn, they hurt. But instead of looking down on things, they look up, which is where I should have been looking, too. Because when the world quiets to the sound of your own breathing, we all want the same things: comfort, love, and a peaceful heart.
I’m not lucky. I am blessed. I have a biological family that loves me. A church family that loves me too. I have a roof over my head. I have employment. Food in my belly. Clothes on my back. I live in a country where I can attend church services and read my Bible (although I’m starting to wonder how much longer that will continue). I have the freedom to write this blog without being concerned that it may be taken down because of its content.
I still have an attitude that makes me cringe. I doubt God and what He has planned to do with my life (Are you sure you want to use me, God?). I don’t take my own spiritual temperature as often as I should.
I know I can’t change it all over night but may be a small step each day. One thing that I am doing is spending the next 21 days fasting from television. I spend so much time in front of the boob tube that it has stripped precious time away that I could have been in the Word or praying (and I need the practice because I’m not the most eloquent pray-er). I can not get that time back but I can start to choose to change how I spend my time from today forward.
One more passage from the book, again from Happiness. Mitch and the Reb were discussing the secret of happiness while the Reb was in the hospital:
So, have we solved the secret of happiness?
“I believe so,” he said.
Are you going to tell me?
“For what you have. For the love you receive. And for what God has given you.”
He looked me in the eye. Then he sighed deeply.
Here’s what the apostle Paul says further in Romans 12:14-21 –
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry; feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
And with that, I will say good night. May God bless you.