Half a Christian · 13 June 2015
After taking a class called Perspectives of the World Christian Movement (Perspectives for short), I have come to find out that I have been about half a Christian. Or less.
The Bible says that as Christ followers, we are supposed to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. Now, I do not believe that we are all called to go to foreign countries to do so, but all followers are all called to go. The question is where should we go?
Actually, the question is usually a cop out. I ought to know. I have used it enough times. We really need to spread the good news wherever we go. At the very least, Jesus followers need to make sure that people know that all they say and do is meant to glorify God. So when somebody told me recently that I was a good man, I simply replied, “No. Just forgiven.” I am not sure the reply did anything for the hearer, except make her wonder, but I know it did something for me. It made me remember that whatever I do, good or bad, I am an ambassador. An ambassador for Christ.
As much as I like the answer that we need to spread the good news wherever we go, I do wonder what God has in store for me. I wonder whether I really am called to write. Called to teach. Called to run. Called to go to places I do not call home. I wonder how all the different experiences in my life are preparing me for what God wants me to do next.
But as I wonder, I am preparing too. I am preparing to go if that is what I am called to do. I am preparing to continue on my current course if that is what I am called to do. I am preparing to write regardless of whatever else I am called to do. For in my heart of hearts, I know that writing is one of the things I am supposed to do. Writing is part of me. And it is a gift from my Creator. A gift I need to use to glorify Him.
If you have read this far, you might be wondering why I have said I believe I have only been half a Christian. One is the Glory of God thing. I have not always been intentional about letting people know that I do what I do for the glory of God. After all, sometimes I enjoy the compliments. Sometimes, I want to take the glory for myself. I know I should just say, “Thank you, God has truly blessed me.” But sometimes, I want to hear people praise me.
Of course, my family and friends keep me humble. (One friend likes to tell me that MediocreMan is a misnomer. He tells me I really ought to strive to be that good.)
The other reason I think I have been just half a Christian is because I have believed salvation is the key to being a true follower instead of understanding that obedience is the key. The solid rock where we build our house is obedience not salvation. I do not know how I missed that all these years.
Somebody said that we are really only responsible for what we know. In some ways, I suppose I could lament the fact that I took a class that taught me more than I wanted to know. It would have been easier to believe that salvation was the key to being a Christ follower and let others worry about their own salvation. It would have been easier to believe that I did not need to worry about my family, friends, neighbors, and even people I do not know. Instead, I now know more fully that it is part of my responsibility to let people know that what I do is for God’s glory and even more important that they ought to join me in following Jesus. In other words, I need to go all in for God and help others do the same. Especially, now that I know.
I do not regret for one second that I now know more and am responsible for that knowledge. What I regret is that I did not know sooner. What I regret is that I have not done a better job of letting people know my position. What I regret is being lukewarm. What I regret is being half a Christian. Or at least that was my knee jerk reaction. In reality, I just want to do better. I want to be obedient to my Master.
It is funny how that obedience happens. Or rather what returns it gives.
I have some students (most notably, Ryan, Josh, Josh, and Zach) who like to call out to me in the hallways. “Miyoshiiiii!” They smile and have a good time with it. Probably because I said I do not like it. Actually, I like people telling me hello. Recognizing my name in the hall is great too. What I did not like was the way it sounded. When they (especially the first Josh) were saying, “Miyoshiiiii!” it sounded like “Miyosheep!” to me. Naturally, when I told them that I did not like it and explained why, they started doing it more. Which started a conversation.
“You know I am not your sheep.”
“Does that mean you are a sheep?”
“Yes. Just not yours.”
“Yep. The Lord is my shepherd. Gotcha Miyosheep.”
That conversation (or one like it) has happened more than a couple times. They know that the Lord is my Shepherd. (In reality, Ryan came up with the next to last line of the conversation without me having to say it.) They know, as do all my students, that Jesus is my Lord. After all, I tell them so right up front. And I let them know that they do not get to use my Lord’s name in vain.
Looking back on the conversation with my students, I realize that it accomplished more than I thought. When I talked to these young men, I thought I was trying to teach them about respect and giving everybody their due when it came to their names. It turns out that they ended up teaching me something. I know that they respect me and I know that they were just trying to show affection with the whole “Miyosheep!” thing. (I also know that they were not really saying “Miyosheep!” Or at least they were not at first.) What the whole conversation reminded me of was that I really am the Lord’s sheep. He really is my Shepherd. And it showed me that at least some of what I say and do reflects this to others.
I do not want to be half anything, least of all half a Christian. I am glad that through a great class I know more about what being a full Christ follower means. And in reality, I know that I have not really been half a Christian. I have just been growing. But now I know, and I need to do more. I cannot just be forgiven without being obedient. Without helping others to be forgiven and obedient too. I cannot be half a Christ follower (or less) anymore.
© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi
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