To Live what you Believe by Dave Wilson with Sue Hood
Sue Hood is currently serving on the Mission Core team in a role that cares for our missionaries on the field. She has served as a missionary herself with her late-husband John with Missionary Aviation Fellowship in places like Indonesia, Mexico, Surinam and Haiti. She is also our team leader for the short-term mission team to Haiti this year.
As I sat down with Sue to discuss this passage, she really helped me see the major overwhelming theme that Jesus was establishing in the beatitudes and the following verses: “To live what you believe!” This theme is evident in Sue’s life now as well as in the stories of her life as a missionary. The Gospel of Matthew chronicles the balance between faith and works that Jesus practiced. There are times of teaching, reflection and instructions on who God is and what He expects from His creation. Then there are times of practical demonstrations of that teaching and the power of God within His creation. Chapters 5-7 are a major block of Jesus’ teachings. But even in his teaching, he did not just dwell on right beliefs, but also on right actions.
Jesus took the ‘law’ of the religious elite and clarified the heart of the law rather than just the letter of the law. He challenged his listeners to consider not just their actions but the thought process behind the actions. This includes ideas such as: anger is the same as murder in the mind, lust is the same as adultery in the mind, and loving a friend is easy, but Jesus requires us to love our enemy as well. If our behavior is to change to honor Christ, then our mind needs to change first. The Lord is very clear in His summation in Matthew 7:24.
Living what you believe for a missionary is key to success on the mission field. Jesus teaches that we should be generous by giving to the needy, but Sue and John were not wealthy missionaries. However, they practiced generosity in other ways like spending large amounts of time with people, taking ‘working’ vacations in remote areas to help people, sharing ideas on how to improve the lives of people around them, caring for the sick and simply being obedient when the Lord asked them to do something for someone else. Sharing your life with other people to help them know God better is the most generous thing we can do. Isn’t that what Jesus did?
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