They Will Know We Are Christians…

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 19-20; John 13:21-38

31 When Judas was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Human One[a] has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify the Human One in himself and will glorify him immediately. 33 Little children, I’m with you for a little while longer. You will look for me—but, just as I told the Jewish leaders, I also tell you now—‘Where I’m going, you can’t come.’

34 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” (John 13:31-35, Common English Bible)

Many years ago I knew a lady named Helen. Helen was an extraordinary artist and one of the best people I have ever known. She was such a nice person she offered to give me painting lessons. She was nice enough to tell me it was good (I know better). She also traded me one of her oils for mine. I think she just didn’t want anyone else to see it. Helen was an oil painter. She painted the most beautiful bluebonnet landscapes I have ever seen. At the time I knew her she lived in East Texas. I looked her up online. I was hoping I could find an obituary. I didn’t, I did better than that. At least as of a year ago, she was still alive, living in Colorado, and had just turned 100 years old (did I mention I hadn’t seen or talked to Helen in some 25 years?). According to the the article I read, she is doing great.

I actually do tell you about Helen for a reason. Helen is one of the finest Christians I have ever known. She is very faithful and very devout. I once heard someone say of her, “If she started praying for me to die, I better go get my affairs in order.” When she heard the person had said that, her feelings were really hurt. The person didn’t intend to hurt her feelings but instead, was just making a point about how devout and faithful everyone knew Helen to be.

Helen loved everyone. And, it wasn’t one of those, I love you because I have to kind of relationships. Helen would say it because Helen meant it. Not only did Helen mean it, you knew Helen meant it.

Today’s lesson reminds us to be like Helen. To be fair, Helen would really disagree with me. She would say we should be like Jesus. Of course, as I learned, when it came to matters of faith, Helen was right far more often than wrong.

Jesus said to the disciples, “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”

My experience with Helen is, when you saw her, you saw love. You saw someone who lived out her faith. You saw someone who did just what she was supposed to do, love God and love neighbor. She lived and loved the song, “And They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love.”

May it be that way for each of us.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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