As I was walking to my favorite coffee shop yesterday, I was just about to open the door to go in when I heard a voice say “you’re really pretty”. I looked around and there were two high school boys sitting and looking at me. I said “me?” (because I was genuinely surprised), and they said “yes, you”. Let me tell you, I was having a pretty tough day, and a simple compliment turned my whole evening around and I thanked them sincerely and proceeded with my day.
As a (future) social worker , part of my duty is to talk to people (hence the word “social”). I am already a pretty social person, and it’s never hard for me to just come up to someone and start a conversation. But lately, since I’ve started my program in school (yay for 3 more quarters ’till graduation!), I’ve listened to a lot of people. I’ve heard people’s opinions on various things and part of those things is religion. Not only have I had conversations with classmates about Faith, but I’ve heard even professors mention their opinions on certain faiths and it sometimes worries me.
I’ve heard people call Christians “judgmental” “rude” and many other words. I’ve heard people talk about leaving the Christian faith because of hypocrisy. I’ve heard people talk about God as though he’s some angry old man in the sky and we are all his slaves.
Throughout my entire life, my parents have always taught me how to be like Jesus and what it means to love and be compassionate towards people. Being a “Christian” in my eyes and by what the Bible says is written in one of my favorite books of the Bible. Acts. It is a beautiful book that I never get tired of reading over and over again. It is a storybook, essentially, of what happened to the Disciples after the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit came upon them and they started preaching in all the languages of the world, loving them, and helping people come to Jesus.
I don’t want to seem like a Debby Downer, but sometimes, I get confused about where it was in history that we messed things up. Where in history we made up this thing called “denominations”. Where in history Christians started arguing about doctrine and how to interpret the Bible. Now, don’t get me wrong, I really like my Baptist church and all the other denominations seem to like theirs too, but I have met so many people that say they are one thing, but their lives show something else. But that, my friends, is for another blog post.
Now listen to this amazing passage. In chapter 2 of Acts, in verses 42-47, it shows us how the very first Christians were like. I have this passage underlined, circled, and highlighted, because I feel like this is so important and really, just a beautiful part of scripture. The first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers…And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as they had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts…”
I don’t know about you, but these Christians seem like a very happy bunch of folks who love Jesus, love to have fellowship, and love people. The last verse was what caught my eye the most when I was reading this passage this week. “praising God and having favor with all the people…”
Having favor with all the people. The word favor means: an attitude of approval or liking. Pretty much these first Christians were liked by all the people. They were kind souls who have just been saved by a God who is merciful and gracious and they just wanted to be like Jesus.
For me, this is what Christianity is. Obviously we will never be “liked” by all people, Jesus wasn’t. But that never stopped Him from being who He was. Loving, compassionate, generous.
Just because we are saved, doesn’t mean we need to lock ourselves up, stay away from sinful people and make sure that as long as we are saved, we’re good. That’s not why we are on this earth.
I recently read something that goes like this:”Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread” D.T. Niles
My wish for you guys this week, is to tell people where to find that bread. The bread of life. Be happy. Smile at someone. Tell them they’re pretty (like the guys at the coffee shop). Don’t judge people because we are all sinners in the eyes of God. Let the love of Christ and joy overflow so that people around can feel it too. Let’s change people’s minds about Christianity. If all the Christians in the world were like this, imagine how many people would come to Christ because they want to know this Source of love. Just imagine.