I confessed early on that I am not a Christian. Yes, I received Christ as my personal Savior when I was twenty-five years old, but that was a once in a lifetime decision. The life of a devout Christian is one comprised of a lifetime of decisions. Do I go here or there? Should I engage in that activity? Is it Christian-like to be hanging out with this or that particular crowd? Will it be a pop tart or bacon and eggs for breakfast this morning? Okay, that one isn’t so much a life changer. But do you see where I’m going with this? There are a few fundamental ideals at the heart of Christianity that each of us should be able to grasp and follow. They don’t require us to be Biblical scholars, and if we only put a little effort into them, they are not that difficult to adhere.
How hard is it really to take time out of our busy lives and help an elderly man or woman, whose packing two bags full of groceries to his or her car? We blow hundreds of dollars on the latest I-phone, IPad, Ipod, and “I want this or that.” Why can’t we dig a little deeper into those tight pockets, drop a buck into the Mason jar at the local grocery checkout, and help the family who’s strapped for cash. They’ve exhausted their finances keeping their cancer-ridden child alive one more day. Without a second thought, we toss out enough food to feed a third world country. What if we took those left overs, and put together a nice hot meal for the young woman next door? You know the one; she lost her husband and her children don’t have a dad anymore.
I’m not saying we should all contend for the Nobel Peace Prize or compete with Mother Teresa for the heavyweight title of sainthood. I can sum it up for us all in two simple words. Be nice. Be kind to one another, and not just to those we call our friends and family.
What about the complete stranger who for all we know just wants somebody to smile at him and say hello? You’d be amazed at what a genuine, friendly, smile will do for someone’s day. It’s not that difficult. Honestly, most of us already do these sorts of things every day and pay little attention on purpose. The problem is that we know we should, we want to, and we almost do, but then we don’t. This is the same dilemma the Apostle Paul found himself struggling with every day.
Paul worked fervently to be the Christian that God wanted him to be, and most days I’m sure he got it right. He had come a long way from his ‘Saul days’. Nonetheless, Paul testified, “The things I want to do, I don’t, and the things I don’t want to do, I do them anyway.” I’ve been there, done that, and like Paul, I get it right most of the time. Some days. Every once in a while, I think. A long ago acquaintance once compared me to the Apostle Paul. I was proud of myself. I thought, “That’s what I’m talking about.” “This being a Christian thing isn’t as tough as I thought.” “I must be getting it right, if he is comparing me to the great Apostle Paul.” It didn’t take long for God to put me in my place...