On Monday evenings, in our home, we hold a Bible study & fellowship time. Each week we listen to a 25-40 minute podcast of a message, then talk about it. We finish up the evening by laughing and joking as we talk about how our week prior has gone. It is a great time together with people who simply want to grow in our faith as Christians.
Last night, the message was titled "A Change of Direction", talking about God's grace toward each one of us, and that no matter where we choose to go in life, God allows, and even ASKS us to turn around and follow Him again. It was a neat thought, especially when we talked about our own times in life that we have had to STOP, and turn around from the stupid and sometimes painful decisions we have made.
The speaker on the podcast used Revelation 2-3 in his message, regarding what Christ said to the various churches that claimed to be His followers. This really got me thinking...
What would the letter say if written to my own church, Emmanuel Baptist Church, or Mora, Minnesota? In each of the Revelation letters, Christ pointed out the good & bad that each church demonstrated. He praised them for the things they were doing correctly, but rebuked them for the ways that they had turned their backs on God.
I can think of many things that my own church has done well over the almost 18 years I have been attending. Sadly, I can think of other times when our church chose to go a route that was self-serving, and not within God's will.
Then, this took me even further into this idea:
What would Christ say if He wrote a letter directly to ME?
What would he commend me for doing that was within His will for me? Followed closely by the rebuke for my failures as a believer, I'm sure. Which half of the letter would be longer? Would He point out things that I am already aware of, or would I be surprised by what He lists, both good and bad?
Given, I'm not looking for answers from any of you, but it made me really stop and attempt to evaluate where I am at. What have I done in the way of sharing the Gospel around my town, my state, my country, and beyond? Could someone look at me and see that I am a Christian, or would they only see a "nice guy"? What about the people that I have hurt throughout my life? Will I ever be able to repair those hurts?
There will come a time when each of stands before God and makes an account for what we did with the time we were given. Am I ready for that time? Are you?
Life's not fair, but God is.
I leave you with this verse from the book of Matthew, but don't let it scare you. Let it encourage you to do as much as possible with your time here on earth. Put aside the petty things that divide us. Forgive each other over and over and over again. Make that "YouTurn" that the speaker talked about. Share the Good News, in our words and actions.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7:21-23 (New International Version, ©2010)