(EDITOR'S NOTE: Faith Matters is a column written by the social concerns committee of the United Churches of Lycoming County. The monthly feature will include local faith-based comment on significant social issues facing us today. Letters reacting to the columns should be brief and clear and may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in the columns are those of the writers and the social concerns committee, not necessarily the Sun-Gazette.)
The very title of this monthly reflection should indeed be our driving question. Does Faith Matter? Does your faith matter? If nothing else, I would like to have as an end result of this article each person reading it to be asking that question: Does my faith matter?
Most of us are very busy and therefore have to make choices as to how we spend our days, whom we choose to talk with, what we choose to do. Does our faith enter into this equation at all? Does our faith slow us down enough to find time for our children? Do we value this gift we have been given and therefore know it is important to put down our phones, get off our computers, turn off our TVs for just a little while and spend some quality time with our kids?
Does our faith matter when it comes time to spend our money? Again, most of us have a very limited amount of money to spend. Therefore our choices of how we spend it are quite important. Does our faith speak to our wallet at all? Do we give to God and help others only when we have that extra money left over? (Really, when do any of us have money left over?) Are we willing to buy a few extra food items and donate them to our food pantries? Send a check to the Shepherd of the Streets? Support our houses of worship? Send a surprise gift to United Churches just because we are thankful?
When we think about spending time helping others, does our faith enter into the equation? Are we too busy watching TV, being online, doing our own things ... or do we listen to that inner voice that God plants inside us and volunteer to help someone in need? Bottom line - does our faith really matter? Do we actually believe in something greater than our self? Do we believe that there is this higher power who loves us and cares about us even, and especially, during those times we don't deserve it? If so, are we willing to pay forward that act of love and kindness as we act according to God's laws and not our own?
It is said a lot lately that the younger generation is not what we want them to be. They are perhaps too rude, not caring, selfish, not connected to others, lazy, and (you fill in the blanks). Well, if that is at all correct, I wonder where this generation might have learned such traits. Does our faith matter enough to live lives in such a way that those younger will be able to see that indeed faith does matter and therefore their lives should be played out differently?
I hope and pray that now that we are at the end of this article, you are at least asking the question, Does My Faith Matter? Whatever your answer, ask the question and then listen for a minute. You might just hear God saying to you, "Yes, indeed, your faith matters!"
- Weiss is the owner of Caring Outreach and incoming president of United Churches of Lycoming County