Your word is a lamp before my feet and a light for my journey (Psalm 119:105, Common English Bible).
Yesterday afternoon I drove by First Baptist Church in our town. I am not sure how long the message has been on the sign in the front yard but today is the first time I noticed it. I appreciate what it says. It is the quote in the picture above, “Remember, you may be the only Bible that others read.” Actually I think it is a variation on this quote but you get the idea.
While it was the noticed it at First Baptist, it is not the first time I have heard the quote. When I hear it or see it, it stirs something inside me. It reminds me of a bumper sticker sized sign I used to have but haven’t seen now in years (they say three moves is equal to a fire. At any rate it has disappeared), it said, “The best sermon is a good example.”
Both of these quotes should be important to all Christians but particularly those in the United States. We live in a society that is becoming more secular each day. There are people around us who have never walked through the door of a church except for possibly a wedding or a funeral. They have never read the Bible, many probably don’t own a Bible. And yet, we expect these people, who are obviously not Christian, to behave as if they were Christian. How can we expect people to act in a manner that is completely foreign to their experience.
To further complicate things, there are so many contradictory examples of what living as a Christian is like. In notable examples of our time, we have Pope Francis on the one hand and Westboro Baptist Church on the opposite extreme, but both claim themselves as Christian. I am not trying to judge anyone here, just using the most extreme examples of faithful living I could think of at the moment. Both are divergent examples of what they claim as living Biblically.
For those who have known me for a long time, you know I would find myself (and hopefully I live in a way you would as well) far closer to the example of Pope Francis than that of Westboro. That is the version of the Bible I want people to read in me. That is the sermon I want them to see.
There is another quote that I have seen a great deal of Facebook of late, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” As people of faith, we say we want to see a world that looks different. We say we want to see a more Christ-like world. I believe it has to start with us. I also believe that has to be a “Bible” that is less judging and more loving. We need to become a people who looks past, who reaches past the external and become a people who reaches inside to touch the hearts of the world around us.
That is the Bible I want to be. What about you? What Bible to you want people to read in you.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Grace and Peace,
Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved