“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
- Matthew 10:32-33
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
- Romans 5:15
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
- 2 Corinthians 11:23
I have written about when I first accepted Jesus, I told my mother, and she threw the spatula that she was using on the stove at me. She said she would beat that notion out of me. She even enlisted my ordained pastor brother to do it. The only one in this “Christian family,” for we read the Bible every night before bed, who supported me was my Dad, but he was concerned that I would become a “holy roller.” He said that too much Jesus would become irritating in the workplace and my boss would distrust me.
So, I toned down the enthusiasm as much as possible, but with God in your heart, as the Romans Scripture above suggests, God’s grace overflows even when you try to tone it down. The bosses that I had knew I was a Christian. And yes, my Dad was right. Many of them, most of them, distrusted me. My first Easter after getting a Monday-Friday job, was marked by an “emergency” so that after all the choir practices that I had attended, I missed the Easter morning services. I put emergency in quotes because it was not an emergency. At least, I could have gone to work that afternoon since it was only something that needed to be done by midnight that night.
And of course, the little jabs at my Christian beliefs got more severe at times.
But the first Scripture haunted me and still does.
A church sign near our house says, “No on can command what God prohibits. No one can prohibit what God commands.”
Wrong! Maybe in an ultimate universal sense, but governments that ignore God, but not really, often prohibit and command the opposite of God just to rub God’s nose in it. If they truly ignored God, they might agree with God on some things, like not killing the unborn.
But would my life have been different, would I feel more fulfilled, if I had greeted everyone with “God Bless You this fine day!” rather than saying “How are you? … Oh, I’m fine.”?
Have I disowned God by toning down my Christian enthusiasm? Where does one stop when toning anything down? Do we tone it down until it is non-existent?
And then there is the Apostle Paul. He said that to live was Christ and to die was gain.
Should not Paul’s example not be a good example for us to follow? Might it be that the imprisonment, the flogging, and the exposure to death again and again would be signs that we were doing it the right way? Are we so special that we can skate by without the suffering?
I do not think we are special.
Neither do I think we are sell-outs.
I do think each of us could have done it better.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.