I’ve been labeled, well haven’t we all. These days just confessing we believe in Jesus Christ is considered radical by most of the world. But even within the body we tend to label, a radical vs. a normal believer, ya know that one that’s always quoting scripture ( whether ya want em to or not lol ). They spend countless hours in prayer, devotion and study in contrast to another who does read the Bible and attends church regularly, prays just as sincerely maybe not as long, but just has a more subtle personality, just not likely the one we see close to the front with their hands in the air.
Is one right and the other wrong? Obviously both are saved ( i/e are in Christ ) but is one perhaps less sincere than the other?
I suppose we can each answer that based upon our presuppositions, our church backgrounds and that which we are accustomed to and individual personalities. I’m not even going to answer it cuz well, I’ve been perceived as being the radical, from the perspective of one group, considered more conservative in the mixing among another, and being a musician pronounced a heathen by yet another.
What does Paul say?…
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Rom 12:1
In essence it seems he is simply stating Christ gave himself, He gave all and it would just make good sense “reasonable” to return to Him the same. And hey if we’re giving all that we have, though ones giving be much more boisterous and aggressive or surrendering all from a more subtle layed back persons offering I would have to say, at least in my thinking, all is all is all, and who am I to say who’s all is the greatest, how can I even get deep enough into another’s heart and being to make such an assumption?
Well thought I’d share a little story from the pulpit….
A long time back a missionary went and spent some time among a native American Indian tribe who had never heard the gospel nor the name Jesus. The missionary erected a quaint little chapel from stick and pitch and began sharing the gospel message. Now despite the limited vocabulary he possessed of their tongue and their limited understanding of English, nevertheless he was able to share Christ, how He being God allowed Himself to become less than He had always been for a short season because He loved us so. He left his habitation in the sky and came here as a man and told us of His plan to restore those who had been lost so we could once again be in union with Him.
The Indian Chief hearing that was touched deeply and he walked up to the altar surrendering his best head dress and necklace as an offering so very grateful for what he had learned Jesus had given Him “This Jesus give Indian much and Indian should return much.
The next meeting the missionary shared with them how Jesus being God had left heaven which was His home, He left behind all that He had in His heavenly Kingdom coming into this world with nowhere to even lay His head, He healed the sick and gave sight to the blind and had come to forgive the sins of all that would put their trust in Him and choose to believe.
The service not even over the Indian got up and walked out, the missionary wasn’t sure if he had said something wrong but continued teaching those that remained. After a bit He could hear the clanging of something outside as the curtain doorway of the chapel opened wide, the Indian drug in his entire tepee with all that he owned wrapped up into it and said “Jesus leave His home and possessions for Indian only right Indian give Him his home and possessions as well” and layed the pile of all that he owned on the altar.
The next meeting the missionary shared how Christ preached His message for 3 years and multitudes had followed Him though some didn’t like the message He shared. So they brought Him before the religious chieftains and they had Him put to death. But for such reason had He came and as the Bible say’s they weren’t really taking His life but He was giving it willingly as a sacrifice of His love for us so that our sins may be forgiven. So they nailed Him to a wooden cross where He shed His blood as a final sacrifice for our sins that we might live.
At this the Indian chief, with tears running down his face looking up at the missionary climbed upon the altar laying himself there atop all that he had offered prior and said, simply…”He give all to Indian, only right Indian give all to Him.”
It seems we can make the gospel message much more complicated than it needs to be, more stringent with all these religious attachments and more requirements than was ever intended. The Indian Chief didn’t need to understand the depths of Theology or Eschatology, what works nor sacraments or even much doctrine to understand what Christ had given him in the greatness of His love. He didn’t need anyone to give him a long list of do’ and do not’s, this rule, this law, this requirement, in his simplicity, indeed in the gospels simplicity, he simply gave himself in like manner…he simply figured it to be his “reasonable service”.