By Todd Outcalt
In last month's issue of Together, I wrote about a recent mission in Puerto Rico. Our small group spent the week in a children's home in a little town, ministering to the needs of abused and neglected children. The women who worked in the home were dedicated to the children and to their faith in Jesus.
As the week progressed, I also became aware of another woman who was sharing her faith in a most humble way. Every day, this woman came to the home and cooked for the children and the staff. She was a volunteer, who spoke no English and was intent to remain unseen, laboring over the stove. On our last day with the children she cooked a traditional Puerto Rican meal for our group, but refused to come out of the kitchen so we could applaud her efforts. When we entered the house to thank her later, she retreated in embarrassing silence.
Seeing the gentle faith of this woman reminded me of the story of Mary and Martha in the Gospels. Mary was busy cooking, while Martha remained in another room to listen to Jesus. Now, I can't say that I understand Jesus' reaction to Mary in the story, but I'm glad there are many people like Mary out there who are willing to live out the Gospel of Jesus in such humble ways.
Later that day, as we were preparing to leave the children's home, I noticed a small sign that another group had left behind. It read: "Lord, Help My Faith to Have Shoe Leather In It." After serving the children that week, and witnessing the faith of this modern day Mary, I understood.
Faith isn't really faith unless we are moved by our convictions and by the Spirit. We need faith with shoe leather - a willingness to go, to serve, to help, to heal, to love, to learn and to grow. The Christian faith is an active life, not a sedentary one. The church may at times seem dead as an institution, but is very much alive as a movement. When we move our hands and feet - great things happen for God!
Todd Outcalt is senior pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg, Ind.