What Does Your Gospel Say?
Written by Mike Lawing
“I’m an Atheist.” The words were posted on the Facebook page of my son’s friend and a young man our entire family had come to love and appreciate. It was surprising to see these words actually “spoken”…and yet they were somehow expected. We were surprised, because we seldom, or at least without recognizing it, connect so closely with someone who blatantly denies the existence of God; expected because he, though friendly, popular, and smart modeled an attitude of sadness. Surrounded by so many family and friends who loved him and enjoyed his company, this young man, while demonstrating success with his many endeavors, was hopeless.
How often, as we go about our activities of the quickly passing days and weeks of our lives, do we encounter someone who believes there is no God? Can they not see Him in the sunrise over the mountains or the rich colors of autumn leaves, hear Him in the sweet voices of the birds singing in the trees or the cry of a newborn baby, feel Him in their heart when someone says “I Love You”? All of these are blessings from our God, our creator, author of our very lives. Don’t they know that? So often, they don’t.
And we, as Christians, are the representatives of what they don’t know but need to so desperately.
In our everyday jobs we have performance or job reviews…something from our “persons in leadership” to tell us how we’re doing in regards to what is expected of us to earn our pay. I wonder what the results would be if we could go before Our Heavenly Father annually for a review. Would He be pleased with how we’re fulfilling our jobs of representing Him in all we say and do?
On a recent Sunday morning, after attending worship service, I was in the grocery store (Yes I do the shopping most often because…well that’s another tale!) and saw a couple who had been a few rows ahead of me in the service. I didn’t know them but I recognized them, because I remembered his apparent excitement for being in worship and being amongst God’s people. In the store, however, he was rude, self-serving and disrespectful. It seemed that his excitement had worn off or just plain been left behind in the church building. And, you know, that’s what it is. It’s just a building. The church, actually, is who we are and what we are all the time. People, seemingly happy and successful…yet hopeless…are watching us.
The Sunday experience bothered me, hurt me within, and made me sad. My wife and I discussed the incident several times because I kept mentioning it. I finally posted my thoughts about this on Facebook to see what kinds of responses would be returned. I referred to it as hypocrisy of the church and got more “likes” than for any other thought I’ve posted on Facebook and many comments and private messages as well…all in support and none in difference. Interesting huh? In working through my thoughts on this matter I kept coming back to a poem that I’ve quoted many times to myself, my family, my co-workers and others. The wording simple but true and the last part of it goes like this:
“You are writing each day a letter to men; Take care that the writing is true.
It’s the only gospel some people may read, That gospel according to you.”
(Wallace E. Norwood)
Jesus said in Matthew 5: 14 – 16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
In everything you do today ask who might be reading your writing of the gospel. Here’s hoping it’s a best seller.