This morning as I was praying I was considering the words I often use in prayer and their meanings. Today I prayed, “O God, how majestic is your name,” but when I get to heaven, I am sure God’s majesty will take the breath right out of me because it will be so much more wonderful than I can possibly imagine from my paltry earthly view.
How about God’s command to “Be ye Holy as I am Holy.” I can’t even comprehend the perfect pure love between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit so how, here on earth, can I understand Holy? I imagine how beautifully overwhelming I will find the holiness of God once I can grasp that great love of God and stop seeing it through a mirror dimly. (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Is it any wonder then that the Apostle Paul said,” For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He was torn because his desire was to be with Christ in heaven and to feel and know the wonder of it all in the illumination of God’s light, but he also recognized he still had God’s work to do on earth. (Philippians 1:21 & 23).
While we are here God has work for us to do and part of my work is at the Ocean City Ecumenical Council’s Food Cupboard. The other day I made a call to a client which ended up with me receiving their recorded message that ended with “God Bless.” Again, as I am thinking about words, this saying normally would be coming from someone who professes faith in God, a believer.
But the reason I called this person was because they took off with one of our shopping carts. The Food Cupboard purchased carts for in-house use and you can believe me when I say they are not inexpensive. This person told the volunteer at the front desk that they had a cart outside and just wanted to transfer the food over. Trusting, as most of us are, she said just bring the cart back inside when you finish the transfer.
The volunteer got busy and five minutes later looked to see if the cart was returned and it was not. She went outside and saw that the person was two blocks away rolling our cart down the street. She made a run for them, but they were too far away and she wisely gave up the chase.
My poor volunteer was so upset that not only had she been lied to but that an expensive cart was gone. After all, we give food away for free so you might think the client would at least respect our efforts on their behalf. She left me a note full of remorse and telling me who it was and describing the incident.
I had this client’s phone number in our files and that is how I ended up listening to the message of “God Bless.” I must say the words did not ring true or sincere considering what had transpired.
Our words do matter. We may not fully understand what heaven will be like or have a true understanding of the awesomeness of God until we get there but here on earth as professing Christians our actions should follow our words.
Our life is a witness of Jesus’ true love to everyone that sees or interacts with us. If we give out false signals such as “God Bless” without our actions matching our Heavenly Father’s actions, then the witness of our faith is harmful to Jesus’ call to follow Him.
I once had a boss who said he was a Christian and what followed was a discussion about how did he believed he was following Christ’s example when in truth he practiced new age religion and mysticism. He, an attorney - a wordsmith - actually said, “What is in a name anyway?” He wanted to be known as a Christian, but he didn’t want to be one. It was almost as if he were dressing up for Halloween. He just wanted to wear the costume so people would accept him.
I need to examine myself often to see that I am not ‘just wearing the costume’ because the day is coming when I will be called to testify to the truth. In parts of our world people are killed by stoning, guns, or swords for being tagged as Christians. If death is a threat, am I really sure I am sincere about Jesus or would I hedge or change my mind so I might live? Christ died for me. I pray that even if I must die because of my faith that I would not deny my Lord.
May God quicken each of our minds and hearts reminding us to live Christ’s teachings so that Jesus is pleased to call each of us His brother or sister. (And yes, the cart is back.)
ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City. Email her at writerGoodGod@gmail.com