Ever seen one of those guys who wander round wearing a sandwich board or holding up a placard displaying verses from the Bible …. what on earth makes them do that? How in-your-face, how irrelevant, how embarrassing is that in this day and age – or is it?
I guess it’s the difference between knowing about something and really believing it – if you really believed with all your heart that a massive hole were about to open up in the middle of Cheshire Street next week and cause enormous damage, you’d do all you could to make sure that everyone knew about it and none of your friends fell into it. Making sure you had done all you possibly could to warn everyone would be a number one priority for you until such time as the catastrophe happened or was averted.
People campaign for things which have deeply affected their own lives – someone who has lost a relative to cancer might fund-raise for cancer care charities, someone who has a nephew or grandson out in Afghanistan will support Help for Heroes and so on. People who have actually taken on board the message of the Bible and believed what the Lord God has to say about our human condition have got to pass it on.
We have warning systems in place to make us aware of impending physical disasters; by and large we trust these and respond appropriately, believing that they have been put in place for our greater good. But when it comes to statements about man and God and our spiritual well-being, how can we be sure? If we could all know with 100% certainty, then there would be no need for faith. Faith is only faith if you have to trust, but you’re a fool if you trust the untrustworthy person. You get taken for a ride – ask anyone who has dealt with a loan-shark!
What makes the difference is whether or not you can trust the person who spoke the words. If you can, then you’ll believe they wouldn’t tell you anything designed to harm you. The thing is though that our minds can play tricks on us when it comes to spiritual truth, particularly if it makes us feel a bit uncomfortable. When that placard tells us, “we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ,” we can rubbish it, call the guy names and get on with life in the here and now, avoiding even the possibility that he could be right. Or we can decide to check it out.
People reacted in many ways to Jesus when he was here on earth. Some badmouthed him, some ignored him, others believed in secret and a few took to heart what He told them and found their lives totally turned round as a consequence. It’s much the same today. Some scoff, others ignore, others read but do nothing, and a few, just a few, listen to that still small voice telling them that this is the most important thing in the world.
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