Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read

March 25
March 25, 2009
Vernal Oliver Sr.
March 27, 2009
March 25
March 25, 2009
Vernal Oliver Sr.
March 27, 2009

Several years ago, an out-of-state preacher accepted the pastor position at a Houston, Texas, church. Some weeks after he arrived, the preacher rode the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, the preacher discovered that the driver had accidentally given him the wrong change – an additional 25 cents.

As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, “Give the quarter back. Keeping it would be wrong.”

Then he thought, “Forget it; it’s only a quarter. Why would you worry about this little amount? The bus company will never miss it. Accept it as a ‘gift from God’ and keep quiet.”

When he was getting off the bus, he paused momentarily, and then handed the quarter to the driver and said, “Here, you gave me too much change.”

The driver, with a smile, replied, “Aren’t you the new preacher in town?”

“Yes” he replied.

“Well, I have been thinking a lot lately about going somewhere to worship. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change. I’ll see you at church Sunday.”

When the preacher stepped off the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, thinking to himself, “Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter.”

Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. While we realize that we are not perfect, what we do does affect the lives of those around us. St. Francis of Assisi told his followers, “Go out and preach the gospel. If you have to, use words.”

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world … Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:13-15) Christianity is not just a club that we attend every week and pay our dues. It’s a way of life.

Jesus commissioned his followers to go into the world and make it a better place to live. We bring with us the fruits of the Spirit: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal. 3:22-23)

Christians can make a difference. Our thoughts, attitudes, words, actions, and lifestyle should reflect who we are – followers of Christ.

Why have Christians failed to be the “salt of the earth” or “the light of the world?” Maybe it is because they realize that they have failed to live up to the teaching of Christ. The errors of their thinking have led them to make bad choices.

However, we should not let our past mistakes hinder our tasks in life. Theologian Karl Barth says, “We can never live in the past as if it were our true home. … And it is a good thing that God draws this veil over the past even without our asking. In so doing, God allows us to live today for tomorrow with just the few memories we need of what was.”

We have to take time out from our busy schedules to learn from our past mistakes and live for today. We need to look at the big picture. Where are we going in life? What are the things that are really important?

If we discipline ourselves to take just a few minutes every day to look a little farther down the road, we could probably foresee the consequences of our current conduct.

Armed with that valuable information, we could take the necessary action to change our errors into successes. By disciplining ourselves to see the future in advance, we could change our thinking, amend our errors and develop new habits to replace the old.

Then we can let out light shine.