Thursday, December 9, 2010
Sometimes in our church bulletin there are quotes that inspire me, or challenge me, provoke me or convict me. Sometimes they make me laugh, especially when they are written by children, or church secretaries who may have misplaced modifiers or typing errors. Or, I might find a thought that so intrigues me I want to remember it, so I post it on my refrigerator since I spend a lot of time there. I didn't stop to think they might be great fodder for discussion!
Twice in the recent past, guests read my refrigerator and called me to account. As I type this I am reminded of Paul's words, "Preach the Word. Be prepared in season and out..." 2Timothy 4:2. "Be prepared, that's the Boy Scout marching song." Note to self, "Be prepared. Remember that."
Both quotes are short. My brother, who is not yet a Christian, read this one and took immediate offense. "Until men know themselves better, they will care very little to know Christ at all." John Owen 1616-1683 "How come this says until "MEN" know themselves better. Why single out men for this accusation? What's the big idea?" I felt the hair go up on the back of my neck, and quickly I sent up an arrow prayer.
My brother is no slouch. He has his Ph.D and was the chancellor of a fine mid-western college for years. "You are right," I said. "Absolutely, right. It should say, 'Until huMANity knows itself better, it will care very little to know Christ at all.' Point taken." And Whoosh...the wind went right out of his sails! Gender studies must have been a big part of his college curricula.
Later, my son and his wife, who are also not yet Christians came to visit from California. This is the quote that had them laughing hysterically. "A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ that a man should have to seek Him to find her." No author given. I love that! Maybe it helps to be a Christian to take a crack at understanding it. I'm not sure I understand it, but I sure like it! "If that were true," my son said, "it would have taken me another 6 weeks to find my wife." Laughter. "If that were true," my daughter-in-law said, "He never would have found me!" More laughter.
(Insert another arrow prayer here) "Make fun if you like," I said, "but don't forget when trials come to me, as they surely will, Christ will carry me through, so I don't have to bug the two of you!" Ooooh...that seemed to sober them up pretty fast and the conversation suddenly became a tad accusatory. "Why do you Christians refuse to hang around sinners?" my daughter-in-law asked. "What? I AM a sinner and I have to hang around with me! Christianity says we are all sinners. The Gospel says, "In Jesus, God forgives us." Sometimes with synical not yet believers you have to be quick and right to the point!
"You can't shake her." my son said. "You might as well quit trying." "Hallelujah!" I thought. "Thank you Jesus, for keeping me!"