Daily Devotions

A Father Mulcahy-Like Faith

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“Come to a sober and right mind, and sin no more; for some people have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” (1 Corinthians 15:34)

 

My high-school self was sitting in front of the television one evening watching an episode of M*A*S*H. Dr. Hawkeye Pierce and Father Mulcahy were having a heated argument in the surgical tent. In front of everyone Hawkeye belittled Father Mulcahy for being in the way during surgery. After both were done and alone together, they tried to clear the air. Hawkeye apologized and said, “It’s just that when I am in surgery I am responsible for a life.” Father Mulcahy responded, “When I am in surgery I am responsible for a soul!” It reaffirmed my desire to become a minister.

 

This 1 Corinthians passage haunts me. In moments when I’ve not set a good example, people can use that as an excuse to deny their faith in God. Any number of people are just looking for an excuse to give up on their faith. It is our responsibility to make it hard for them to give up. It is our call to make our faith in God so beneficial and meaningful that they cannot give up, because they want what we have from God.

 

When our actions impede someone else's ability to have faith, we shame ourselves before God. Whether or not you are a professional minister, each Christian is called to set an example, so others will want to be part of the faith. Each one of us, like Father Mulcahy, is called to be “responsible for a soul.”

 

Today, think about the people who look up to you. What do they see when they look at you? Do they see your faith? Do you give them hope and encouragement? We have a tough job. We, people of faith, are the ones who are responsible and care for the soul. It requires sacrifice from time-to-time. Perhaps you are the designated driver, rather than the one drinking. Maybe you are the parent who has all the kids at your house, even when you are bone tired. You might be the adult who chaperones the Middle School mission trip, because it provides unique opportunities to nurture their faith. Pray for God to use you to bring Divine knowledge to others. Be the Father Mulcahy to those around you!

Beyond Self

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“Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy.”  (1 Corinthians 14:1)

 

This passage is part of a larger section. The gist of the section is that our blessings from God are not to be used for our own gratification, but for the purpose of glorifying God. The ancient church in Corinth fell into the trap of wanting to glorify themselves. They encouraged, for example, “speaking in tongues” as a means of publicly expressing the sureness of their faith and their salvation. God’s reason for bestowing gifts is to reach out, rather than for self-aggrandizement.

 

Through the years I wish I had a dollar for everyone who has tried to faith-shame me. “What kind of a minister doesn’t have that Biblical passage memorized?” “You can’t speak in tongues? You could if you prayed harder.” “I don’t feel the spirit moving through you the way it moved through the minister I grew up hearing.” There is always someone ready to tell you that you are not faithful enough. Sadly, their very condemnation is proof that they do not get it.

 

The Divine gifts we receive aren’t primarily for us. They are meant to move through us, and into those around us. We are simply a conduit between God and the individuals with whom we have contact. Now, before you feel diminished in some way, remember that Jesus was God’s conduit, bringing redemption through the cross.

 

“Love,” “spiritual gifts,” and “prophesy,” should be blessings we receive and then offer to others. When we give love, it is only meaningful when we pass that love on. Spiritual gifts become spiritual narcissism if they are hoarded, rather than shared. Prophesy is just talking to one’s self, unless God’s wisdom is shared with others.

 

Today, think about who you can love, who you can share your gifts with, and how best to bring a prophetic voice to those around you. Express your love. Do something for someone else this week. Finally, seek out someone you can share your faith with in the next week as well. Prophesy is less about screaming from a soapbox and more about sharing your beliefs with others. Take the risk, speak out.

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