Toward Bold Faithfulness

Inherently 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 Lisa Rust 

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14  

Walk down the coffee aisle of any supermarket and you’ll be bombarded with multiple choices of coffee. Coffee companies have even added “helpful” adjectives to the names so that unrefined coffee lovers like myself can find the perfect blend. If you look for “bold” coffee, coffee that has a higher ratio of coffee grounds to wateryou’re likely to find imaginative names such as special blend, double diamond, obsidian, turbocharger or dark magicas if a fancy name can define a certain coffee. As someone for whom coffee became an acquired taste, every cup tastes rather bold!  

I feel this way about faith. Often we attempt to define or “flavor” our faith with adjectives. We admire those who show extraordinary, courageous or bold faith in difficult circumstances. But is not the act of faith itself bold, no matter what adjective we choose? Our availability and acts of obedience are bold in and of themselves. 

Queen Esther knew something about availability and obedience. As the young girl called to save a nation, she wisely recognized that the only way forward was to take each “next” step in obedience, completely dependent upon God’s plan. An unlikely heroine, Esther occupied that strange space where one has both everything and nothing to loseeverything to lose, in that there is great riskand nothing to lose, in that nothing else matters because of complete dependence upon God’s power. It is in the wild expanse of utter submission and dependence that we understand the “boldness” of God’s power, and not our own. 

Those moments when we live (or act) in faith are those moments when we know without a doubt that we could not do that which we are called to do on our own. It may be a simple step of faith, such as my choir buddy who sang her first solo last Sunday, or the church member who wrestled with being called to serve as a deacon, but is now joyfully awaiting her ordination. It might be showing up on someone’s doorstep, not sure of how you may be received, but confident that the Spirit prompted you to be there. It might be taking a stand on the right side of love and justice despite the consequences. Or it might be refraining from taking action and being willing to live in uncertainty with patience.

Whatever your act of faith, and whether the rest of the world considers it small or extraordinary, when it is done in obedience to the Spirit’s prompting despite the consequences, it is inherently bold! 

What “next” step might God’s Spirit be leading you to take in obedience and dependence? Do you have both everything and nothing to lose? You might just want to pour yourself a cup of coffee and spend some time thinking about it. 

Lisa Rust is a member of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, N.C., where she currently serves as Chair of Deacons, and is a member of the Discovery Team for Toward Bold Faithfulness. Take your next step in bold faith and take CBF’s online survey today at www.cbf.net/survey

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