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On Faith: You Will Get It Back

By Jeanette Salguero
February 2013

"Send out your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will get it back." —Ecclesiastes 11:1

Scripture's challenge to "send out your bread upon the waters" is really at the core of God's continuous challenge for me. This sacred text speaks about investing in the things that really matter. As a wife, mother, and evangelical leader, the constant call to move beyond myself is not always easy.

Still, the promise of this text gives me hope for the tasks ahead: "after many days you will get it back."

The scripture’s fundamental call is faithfulness in the worthy tasks of raising a family, leading a congregation, and advocating for the most vulnerable. Admittedly, I meet this call to varying degrees of success and failure.

I am frequently reminded of Paul's words in Philippians 3:12, "Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached my goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own."

What I have learned and am learning still is that being a faithful witness is its own reward. When working with undocumented young people, promoting educational equity, or advocating for programs that help sustain the hungriest and the most vulnerable among us, I am amazed by how the work, win or lose, is itself a noble thing. In the words of Dr. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, Dean of Esperanza College, "We don't do things because they work; we do things because they're right." So when I am asked why I keep at it, I simply reply, "because it's right."

Casting my bread upon the waters means taking small faithful steps to bring God's love and justice into the world. This may not yield results immediately—or even in my lifetime. Still, the witness remains. We move forward because the platform on which we stand is built on hope — a deep conviction that what we cast into the waters will indeed return. After all, isn’t hope the center of our gospel?

In my work on immigration for more than a decade, I've also learned that tenacity is a trait which all Christian laborers must nurture. Tenacity helps us keep at it despite major setbacks. It is a type of faith that believes that our God is at work even when we don’t yet see the fruits. It springs from an understanding of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

My prayer for all of you committed to conspiring justice is that you stay fueled by hopefulness and tenacity. Fight the good fight! Finish the race! Remain faithful!

Photo caption: Jeanette Salguero sings during a Bread for the World Sunday service at the Lamb’s Church on New York’s Lower East Side, where she is co-pastor with her husband, Gabriel. Photo by Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World.

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