There is an old Chinese proverb which goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”
As I get older, I begin to realize how fleeting life really is. After high school I was “smart” enough to drop out of college so that I could spend more time “enjoying life.” Of course, now I realize that my decision cost me many wasted years that I can never get back.
I can dwell on those wasted years and wonder where I would be now if I had only listened to where God was leading me, or I can realize that He calls me still and is willing to use me from where I am at now. If I embrace the latter, I have to accept that I cannot start as a twenty year old tree, but as a sapling who is way behind in the game (that’s intimidating all by itself).
As a Christian man, I see a world full of diverse people. Many are broken, many are scared, and many are just trying to find out who they really are. And every one of us has to deal with very real temptations and burdens that we are born with. As a Christian, I believe that God speaks the truth when He says that we are all born sinners (Romans 3:23), and that we all have natural born tendencies and desires that are often contrary to the way He wants us to live (Romans 7:14). I believe that God is love (1 John 4:16) and because of His love His commands are designed to give us true, eternal happiness (Jeremiah 29:11), even if we don’t understand how that works (Isaiah 55:8).
More than all that, I know that God has offered the free gift of salvation to ANYONE who would receive it (Mark 16:16). He did all the work and provided all the love so that anyone who would accept it would inherit the eternal life we were designed to live (Revelation 21:4). His power and love are so great that He offers us the opportunity to be changed even here in this life (Romans 12:1-2). We will never be perfect, but we can strive for it. And this blessing does what all blessings do—it pours out onto others.
By receiving the gift of salvation from Jesus, we are to become the Church, the body of Christ that reflects God’s holy image into creation. We are to be blessings to others. Our task, as the Church, is to live for God—that means to live for His will, and His will is to bring life into this world. Christians, we are commissioned to bring hope into this world and the clock is ticking!
If we truly believe what the Bible says, then we need to step up our game. We need to be intentional in everything that we do, and we need to be willing to change for the sake of others. We don’t have time for the “this is why I’m right and your wrong” argument. It has never worked before and it will never work! Being technically right does not draw people to God. Instead we need to quit being lazy in our own walk with God. We need to be willing to do what Jesus did, so that by humbling ourselves and obeying God, others might fall in love with Him and the receive the hope He promises them.
When we feel we need to correct others, we should ask ourselves, “How does this correction offer hope and reflect that I really just want them to know the love I have felt from Jesus?” Anything else is a waste of time. And if we aren’t willing to put in the effort to convey a hope filled message rather than just Biblical facts, then it is we who have missed the intent of the Word of God.
If we truly want to be Christ like, then we need to be willing to invest in people, to plant seeds and nurture them, and to realize that it is unfair to expect fruit from a tree that is not yet even planted. I pray God would fill us with the love that drives us to desire good for others rather than just to say, “We did our job.”
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!