Saturday, July 12, 2008

What if I were a Christian?

This evening, I imagined a story.
    I lived in a trailer park on a well-known pacific island. My neighbors watched me till a small patch of ground and plant tomatoes in my garden. After the tomatoes had ripened and I had already harvested some, one neighbor, an older fellow with a minor reputation for a stagnant and dissolute lifestyle, boldly, but stealthily, 'harvested' some tomatoes while he believed I was away. Through the screen on one of my windows, I saw him with an armful of tomatoes and reaching to 'harvest' more. I warmly called out, "Hey, why don't you come inside? I'll make us a salad with those."

    He did come in pretending to have done me a favor, and handed the tomatoes to me. I set some aside. I diced the rest and added cucumbers, onion, and vinegar-based dressing to make salad (or sa-LAD). After we ate and chatted, I washed the remaining tomatoes and put them in a container. I gave them to him and said, "I forgive you. Please take these and enjoy them."

Such a silly wandering of the mind has helped me to learn something. I have always wanted to be forgiving and gracious to those who sin against me. I know this is Christ's way. But, I have been an abject failure at this. I see now that I have not loved. Not only do I not love people, but I love what I have. I love the things I perceive as being mine. I cling to my things and let people go. Jesus loved people and let his very life go.

May the Lord give me the faith and the courage to let my life go. May he enable me to find in trespasses an opportunity to testify with love to His glory and power.

I see also that I have depended on myself for my security. I must stand up for myself and protect what is mine. Of course, I alone cannot provide for my own security. Neither is my security dependent on my obedience to Jesus. Only Jesus himself can provide security. Nevermind if my tomatoes are stolen or if my entire momentary, miniscule kingdom falls. I remain a ruler in the Eternal Kingdom of God!

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