|Vol. 14 No. 12 December 2012||
Donald R. Fox
I was mowing my large back yard lawn; it was Saturday, July 25th, 2009. As some may know, our minds wander when we mow the lawn. I was thinking about a recent event that drew national news attention. The event was a confrontation between Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of Harvard University and a local policeman. I thought about how I would have responded if I were in the same situation as Professor Gates.
If a policeman came to my house and said, “There is a report that this house was being burglarized,” my response would be, “Good day Officer, please come in. May I show you my identification? This is my house; I have lived here for a very long time. Please sit down!” Showing off some of my family pictures on my living room wall, I would offer him a cup of coffee. You know, friends, in a very short time, I believe we would have departed in peace. As he left my home, I would say, “Come by and see me sometime and have a cup of coffee.” O yes, I am a friendly fellow!
“You’re Not Going to Hurt Me, Are You?”
As I continued mowing the lawn, thinking about this Professor Gates situation, my mind drifted to an incident that happened over forty years ago. I was living in the small town of Sherman, Mississippi. Sherman is a little north of Tupelo, Mississippi (the birthplace of Elvis Presley). I remember that I was outside in my yard when a car came sputtering to a stop in front of my house. An elderly black lady was the driver. I walked up to her car and asked if I could be of some help. She responded, “I have to get home, I don’t live far from here.” I said, “I would be happy to bring you home, if you want.” She responded, “O please!” I got my car, and she sat in the back seat. I am sure I chitchatted with her; you see, I am of a friendly sort. Out of the blue, she said, “You’re not going to hurt me, are you?” What she said surprised me. I could have cried! My quick response was, “No Madam, I’m a Christian.” In no time she was home. With a few words in departing, I returned home. I never saw her again!
I was deeply saddened that this nice elderly woman thought that I may hurt her. It distressed me to think that this lady may have suffered bad treatment and had distrust of a man that only wanted to be of help. We can only wonder about the brutal treatment some suffer by the hands of evil beings. My heart breaks thinking of such things.
Let Us Practice Christian Principles in Our Lives.
Are we perfect? No, of course not! Yet, we can let our light shine. Many hostile arguments could be resolved in peace, if we practice Christ like principles.
Christians Are the Salt of the Earth
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matthew 7:13 KJV).
Christians Are the Light of the World
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:14-16).
D. Gene West
Almost any standard dictionary will define the word “worthy” as, “that which is of commendable excellence; deserving.” The definition is arresting. If we can trust the definition, there are few people in the world worthy of what they receive in life. Even great people bring little to the world that it has not known and appreciated, or known and discarded before. Who among us would assert that he or she is worthy of all the blessings received from the hand of a gracious God? Some arrogant persons might, but those who are truly in touch with themselves and with the Bible would never dare to take such an unworthy stand. Among the greatest people who have ever lived on the earth were the apostles of Christ. To these great men, to whom even we owe our salvation, Jesus said, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10). This Jesus said after telling a parable of a slave plowing or tending sheep. When that servant returned to the residence of his master, he did not find that the master had all the preparations made to see that the slave had a good meal waiting for him. On the contrary, it was his duty to prepare the meal for the master after having labored all day. When we serve Christ to the best of our feeble abilities, we have done nothing worthy of praise or adulation. We have accomplished only what it is our duty, and we are unprofitable.
There are those who are truly great servants of Jesus. They have superior talent and are called upon to give Jesus superior service. Often, they are a blessing to all in the body of Christ. These men may appreciate our gratitude, but they never covet our praise, for they know they are undeserving. Selina Campbell once told her husband Alexander that he was the most perfect man she knew, one who always practiced what he preached. Campbell’s reply was, “My dear, I fear you do not see my faults.” All men have their faults and know more than anyone else that they do not deserve adulation from their peers. Great men also realize that others, no matter how humble, have the right to question them. It could be that a humble man would easily see what great men missed, and knowing that, they answer patiently when challenged or questioned.
There is One who is truly worthy of man’s adulation, One who deserves heartfelt praise. To Him, in the Book of Revelation, it was sung by the hosts of heaven: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us a kingdom of priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10). In the 12th verse of the same chapter, they sang, “saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!’” (Revelation 5:12). All hail the power of Jesus’ name!