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 John Mark Boes
If you are reading this, you probably know that CBF is on a journey to discovering a greater sense of bold faithfulness for our Fellowship. We have boldly professed a belief that the Holy Spirit will guide us toward a bolder faith in life together. But, what about bold faithfulness for me? What does bold faith look like for me?
I have been ruminating on bold faithfulness since Paul announced to our staff this period of discernment. Thus, I did what any right and proper Baptist should do, I started reading Scripture.
While there are numerous passages that highlight bold faith, I have been stuck on one, the story of the Widow’s Offering in Luke 21. After watching rich people and a poor widow offering their tithes, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on” (Luke 21:3-4).
Now, this could easily be spun into some kind of narrative about giving money to CBF to support spreading the hope of Christ. To be clear, I hope you do that. But, that is not what this is. Instead, this poor widow is a testament to bold faith for us. I can only imagine that her faith compelled her to give all she had for the kingdom of God. If that is not bold, nothing can be bold. It is bold faith to give everything you have and follow Christ’s call.
I am inextricably intertwined with CBF. I have been almost my whole life. CBF has been and is my home. Yet, I haven’t had to give much to be home with CBF. I could give more, out of my abundance, to move farther toward bold faithfulness. The standard by which Jesus evaluated the gifts in Luke 21 was not the amount given; rather, the standard was how much one has left after the gift was given. Bold faithfulness is the offering of everything.
But, where does that leave me? To move toward bold faithfulness, I must offer everything. And it surely means the same for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. CBF has been on a journey toward bold faith for nearly 30 years. Advocacy efforts, chaplaincy and pastoral counseling endorsement, the Young Baptist Ecosystem, Church Engagement, Global Missions, and Racial Justice work are all moving Cooperative Baptists closer toward bold faithfulness. But our journey as CBF and mine as a Christian cannot just end with that list. I know I have more to give, I know that I have more abundance to give to God’s mission.
So, join me on this journey toward bolder faith. Start by taking the survey, then pray for those coordinating the work of this initiative and attend General Assembly in Atlanta this summer.
But, there is one more thing I hope you will do. My challenge to you is to give just as much of yourself as the widow in Luke 21. While CBF discerns what bold faithfulness looks like in the coming months, I challenge you to examine what bold faithfulness will look like in your life. My prayer is that both CBF and all of us who call ourselves Cooperative Baptists will strive toward bolder faith for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
John Mark Boes serves as the Partnerships and Advocacy Specialist for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Join him in bold faithfulness by taking CBF’s online survey today at www.cbf.net/survey.