Tuesday, December 10, 2013

When We Cease to be Christians

This past Monday I travelled to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee for the sole purpose of spending a few hours with my grandparents, Bill and Barbara Watts. It was my Papa Bill's 85th birthday. It was a very special occasion for me, and I feel so blessed that I still have them with me, and that I can still be within driving distance and take them out to lunch.

As we were driving back to their home together I asked my Papa what he had learned in 85 years...what wisdom do you have for a 40 year-old preacher? (My Papa preached for 63 years before having to retire because of his health). He told me two things, one about preaching and one about life in general that I am saving to share at a later date. But as our conversation ended my grandmother added something that I want to share in this article.

My grandmother said, "Jeremy, everyone has a story. No matter where they have come from, no matter what they have done, the minute that we are no longer willing to reach out to others is the day when we cease to be Christians." After I said goodbye I had a long drive back home to think about all that had happened and all that had been said. While thinking about this particular statement from grandma, it occurred to me that my grandparents lives had been dedicated to accepting the truth of this statement and acting accordingly. I am so thankful for their example.

Everyone has a story. How true. God knows every page of every story and every letter of every word we will ever write in our book. He has chosen to know us so intimately that He pays attention to every detail of our lives individually. The ability He has to know us in this way and His willingness to do so is what makes Him God. When we begin to fathom the love that is displayed in His reading of our story and His desire to give it a joyous ending, how amazing the grace and mercy of God becomes! And this is where Christianity comes in. Once we realize what God has done for our story, it becomes our responsibility to care about the story of every man.

God created every individual with a purpose. To God, there is no person who is more beautiful than the next. Jesus came to die because this is what everyone needed. The contents of individual stories all have one thing in common, sin and a genuine and desperate need for redemption. And although we are so different in so many ways, our need for Christ is the central theme to every one of our stories.

If we are going to be the kind of people God created us to be, we will never forget that every person needs someone else to care about their story. If we will do this, we will truly be able to say that we are children of God. The day we stop caring about others will be the day when we cease to be Christians.

"Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days!" - Psalm 90:14

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