Monday, June 13, 2011

And You Are….?

Galatians 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

By now, I think every living American has seen the commercial where the woman comes into dining room with lots of boxes of food and hollers out, “McDonald’s!!!”.  And by the time she turns around,  people are at the dining table ready to eat. The original version of the commercial was longer.  It cut to the next scene where everyone is at the table eating and the woman notices an obviously out of place oriental gentleman, asking him, “And you are?”.  Because he wasn’t recognized as part of the family.  Another way of saying, “You don’t belong here.  Why are you eating my food?”.  But, on a spiritual level, does that really work anymore?  What’s “out of place”?  Who’s “out of place”?  What’s your “And you are….?”?

It almost seems like the one thing that sticks out in our minds is how someone stands out, rather than blending in.  That, as Christians, we waste more time trying to find ways to separate ourselves, when we could be highlighting the things that could be unifying us in our bond as warriors against the wiles of the devil  So, here are some questions.  What happens at your church when someone’s language, dress or attitude makes them different?  Maybe it’s my time counseling, but that usually stands out to me as someone that didn’t get properly spiritually fed elsewhere.  Maybe unsaved, probably in some form of crisis, definitely looking for answers.  The very people that Jesus sought out to minister to.  And the very people some churches ignore because they don’t fit in.

In the passage that opened this thought, Paul pretty well indicates that where he was at spiritually didn’t happen because of anything he did.  It didn’t happen because of who Paul was as a person.  In fact, we know that Paul’s job as a Jew was killing Christians.  And he was good enough at his job that he was feared in all the Christian churches.  Even for a time after his conversion.  And, here, Paul makes it clear that Christ was the sole cause of his change.  Which brings some questions that we’ll get to, right after the prayer requests. 
There are Columbia, Jimmy and Betty.  Also, keep praying for Curtis, Peggy, Joyce, and Libby.  And their families.  And we now add Russ, who was rushed to the hospital yesterday.  And probably all of us, as we’ll soon see.

So, if Saul, now converted to Paul, showed up at your church, how would you and your church receive him  Would he be warmly received as a knowledgeable religious Pharisee?  Would he be shunned, based on his past reputation?  Or maybe strongly welcomed as a potential showcase convert?  Would he be pushed into rigorous training, gently drawn closer to Christ or left on his own?  The wonderful thing about these and similar questions is that there may be wrong answers, but no condemnation.  We get opportunities to become more like Christ and to draw others to Him.  Our “And you are….?” becomes “How can I bless you and show you the same Savior I know and trust?”.  And bring ourselves closer to hearing, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  So, who will you treat as someone special, today, because Christ sees them as special?

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