The Word: What if life depended on your faith?

Published 4:15 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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The Word

James Cameron Bailey

My youngest child began his freshman year last week with Johnson University. This amazing college was created to help poor farmers and country folk study the Bible so that they could minister in their areas. The founder, Ashley Johnson, began “The School of Evangelists” in 1893 on farm land formerly owned by his great grandfather. He began the school with $100, 10 acres of land, two mules, three cows, and one student.

“We believe as if everything depends upon faith; we pray as if everything depends upon prayer,” Johnson said. ‘We work as if everything depends upon work.” Johnson University strives to pass along this Johnson Legacy. They press that there is a time of growth and formation (faith), time of transition (prayer), and a time of purpose (work).

Right down the road from Johnson University is the University of Tennessee. Famed Volunteers ladies basketball coach Pat Summitt said, “If you want to develop loyalty, the first thing you have to do is demonstrate it.” Pat Summitt died in June of 2016 at the age of 64. She was a strong leader who pushed the truth of loyalty. She also said, “The absolute heart of loyalty is to value those people who tell you the truth, not just those people who tell you what you want to hear. In fact, you should value them most. Because they have paid you the compliment of leveling with you and assuming you can handle it.”

Loyalty seems harder and harder to find, doesn’t it? Sadly, we are more loyal to our favorite schools or sports teams than we are to our spouses or friends. I love how Pat Summitt says how the heart of loyalty is to value people who tell you the truth. I’d rather you hurt my feelings with the truth than to try and flatter me with lies.

Two universities in the same city. One has had top notch coaching push the concept of loyalty and integrity; the other has strived to grow and develop passionate ministry leaders of integrity for 130 years who are not only loyal to mankind but more importantly to God. Imagine if we all strived to live what we claim to believe. Imagine if we truly lived as if everything depends upon faith. Imagine if we prayed with power believing everything depends upon prayer. Imagine if we worked at helping others, and reaching those who aren’t yet all in on living for God, as if it depended upon the work we put in. It’s easy to sit back and think about stuff. It’s harder to get in and do the work. God, help my faith grow, my prayers to be empowered, my work to work.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at jamescameronbailey@gmail. com.