Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
Later this summer, my son is playing in a week-long baseball tournament in Cooperstown, New York. It is an incredibly exciting opportunity. Once in a lifetime. They will play other teams from all over the country and create memories to last forever. But it is also a trip that is not cheap. The cost for this 6-day baseball getaway is cringeworthy indeed. All the parents on the team are now brainstorming ways to raise money. One such fundraiser is to sell spirit wear. This is not innovative; most teams and schools do this. We ask people to purchase all kinds of things—shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, umbrellas—with the SPARTA name and logo emblazoned on it. Not only will the team make money, but all our fans in the stands can proudly show their support. Just a quick glance, and you’ll know which team they are there to cheer for. It will be obvious by the colors they wear, the umbrellas they hold, the names they scream, and the banners they wave.
In the church, we have no such banners or team apparel. (Although, it could be cool to have some fun King of Kings swag to wear. Someday…) In the church, we have a different type of “spirit” wear that is not evident in logos or team colors. Instead, as the old hymn refrain declares, “… they will know we are Christians by our love.” As Christians, we believe that the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our lives. God lives within us. This is the gift of baptism. He literally dwells within us. None other than the Holy Spirit is active in our lives creating and sustaining us in the one true, saving faith. As such, how we live our lives should consistently display who we are and what we believe. During our past month of “stewardship” reflections, this has been the underlying premise. Our faith is what inspires us to invite others into the life of His church. Our faith is what pushes us out of our comfort area to care for others. Our faith is what nudges us to find ways to volunteer. Our faith is what motivates us to be good stewards of the countless gifts and abilities that the Lord has given to us. The faith that we have in God is not something we should only pull out for a couple of hours on a Sunday morning. It needs to permeate every part of our lives. Our faith should impact how we treat each other, how we spend our money, how we conduct our business, how we interact with our coworkers, how we take care of ourselves, and so on. There is no compartment of our lives that should ever be disconnected from our discipleship with Jesus. To be sure, this is not easy. There is forgiveness for every time we fail, grace for all imbalances.
More than walking around decked out in crosses and clever churchy t-shirts, God says that our fandom and faithfulness should be evident in how we worship Him and interact with others. This is good news. We don’t have to purchase anything. In fact, God has paid the price already. So let us embrace and live in the freedom and forgiveness that comes with being a child of God. Rejoice. Be faithful. Let us make this evident to all—where we live, work, and play!
“If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” (unknown)
“Live in such a way that those who know you, but don't know God, will come to know God because they know you.” (unknown)
“How you express and live out your faith may have a greater impact on your son or daughter than anything else.” (Kara E. Powell)
“Our conduct is an advertisement for or against Jesus Christ.” (Elizabeth George)
Pastor Steve Vera