Toward Bold Faithfulness

Following in Bold Faith

For congregations to thrive and Christ’s mission among us to flourish, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has entered a season of discovering where God would focus our work together. Take CBF’s online survey about your church and your personal ministry aspirations before Feb. 2.  
 
This devotional is part of a series in January that tells stories of “Bold Faith” written by CBF field personnel and members of a team composed of clergy and laity from across the Fellowship who are leading of process of prayerful discovery that will result in a faithful response. Find out more about this process called Toward Bold Faithfulness.   

By Susan Crumpler 

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  They immediately left their nets and followed Him.  Matthew 4: 18-20 (New King James Version) 

I’m captivated by their small, clothsided wagons, each about four feet long and 18 inches wide. The wagons carry sandwiches, rolled tacos and bottles of water that local Christians—mostly women—from Brownsville, Texas, pull across the border bridge to Matamoros, Mexico. Refugees wait there in a tent city for their appointments in the U.S. to discuss asylum claims.

The human needs here are clear and appear staggering compared to the small number of sandwiches and tacos that the women bring. The whole scene seems like the little boy who brings his loaves and fishes to Jesus, which Jesus then blesses and uses to feed the crowd gathered to hear Him. With bold faithfulness, the women see the need, hear God’s call and commit to ongoing action to help the refugees.   

The love of God rides in these little wagons to Mexico. The love of God also pulls the wagons across the border twice each week, and the love of God preaches to the gathered crowd about Jesus and His saving grace. These and other courageous Christians and pastors minister on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border, aided, in part, by Fellowship Southwest and other CBF ministries in the Rio Grande Valley.   

These faithful Christians remind me of the bold faithfulness that Peter and Andrew show when Jesus calls and tells them that they will become fishers of men. Like the fishermen in the text, these local women and men gave up their plans for how to use their time and re-ordered their livelihoods in a modern equivalent of leaving their nets in response to God’s call. They followed God’s call immediately, striving to feed those who were hungry as God made the need clear to them. Most importantly, they heard and recognized God’s voice and followed where His call led them.   

In the respite centers in Mexico, we learned that many of the migrants are Central Americans who are often fleeing violence in their home countries. This violence is so extreme that families run from their communities, their extended families and their ways of life in order to protect themselves and their children. Often, these families are Christians, our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

These families on the move have numerous spiritual needs to experience the love and life that Christ offers and have clear physical needs for basics like food and safe shelter.  When I think about the Christian women pulling the little cloth wagons filled with sandwiches and tacos, I believe I’m seeing the bold faithfulness of the church at work today. Seeing the needs around us and hearing God’s voice, what actions does God call each of us to take? 

Susan Crumpler serves as co-coordinator of North Central Region CBF and as part of the Toward Bold Faithfulness Discovery Team. If you feel called to bold faith to help shape the future of the Fellowship, take the online survey today at www.cbf.net/survey

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