I heard a story today.
I had called my dad and we were talking about a minor medical procedure I had to have done. When we come to things like this in our life, we look at our lives. Or we should anyway.
At any rate, my dad has recently preached at a local church where he lives a couple times. Turns out they are looking for a pastor. It’s nothing glamorous; a small country church in a rural county where my parents have recently retired. But they’ve asked him to come back and preach again next week “in view of a call.” Those of us who grew up in the Baptist world will know what that means.
My dad told me he met with their search committee last night. One of the men on the committee said something to my dad that I want to talk about.
This guy went to high school with my dad. My dad is currently 67 years old so that gives you an indication of how long ago that was. Anyways, this guy tells my dad that he heard him pray at a school event back in the day. He said that prayer had such an impact on him that he sort of “followed” my father and his ministry over the years. He told my dad that prayer and my dad’s subsequent life was a life he “wanted to live like.”
As my dad was telling me this story, he got choked up and began to cry. He said, “We just never know where God is going to take us or how He will use our lives.” My response to him was, “Praise God for His grace that is so evident in your life.”
Folks, this was 50 years ago that this dude heard my dad pray and began to watch his life. 50 years. Half a century of faithfulness to God and the ministry of the Word, shepherding God’s people and preaching the clear and pure gospel.
My dad is one of my heroes in the faith. He always has been, even when I was lost and without Christ. Even with the theological differences my dad and I have, he is my hero in the faith. He has never sought out the spotlight. He’s never been invited to speak at some fancy conference. He’s never written any books. What he has done is faithfully preach God’s Word and love God’s people for the vast majority of his life. My dad is my hero.
Our conversation reminded me of a text of Scripture. Actually, most conversations I have with my dad inevitably end up with us talking about Scripture and what God is teaching us by His Word. Those are rich conversations, my friends.
But it reminded me of first one text, and then more came to mind. But the first text is from Ephesians 5:15-16. In this text, the apostle Paul says this,
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.” (ESV)
Look carefully then how you walk.
Make the best use of your time.
It matters how we live. If we claim the name of Christ, if have been adopted into His family by faith in Him, it matters how we live. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not espousing some sort of do better, be better and God will love you sort of thing.
No, I’ll be clear.
The Bible says clearly that we are saved by grace through faith alone in Christ alone. You cannot earn your salvation no matter what kind of life you live or how good you are. Only faith in Christ will save you.
However, the Bible is also clear that we are to live in certain ways if indeed we are in Christ. Jesus said over and over that our lives and what we do matter. Yes, He said to believe in Him and you would be saved. But He also said to love your neighbor and your enemy and do all that He commands. Every single writer of the New Testament said the same thing.
If we are in Christ our lives should reflect that fact.
You can’t get around that. Obedience, faithfulness, sanctification…these things matter. What you say, what you do and don’t do, where you go and how your life looks matters. People are watching our lives, brothers and sisters.
Let us live obedient, bold, surrendered, gracious lives so that others may look at us and our lives and say, “There is one of God’s children. I want to be like them because they are like their Father.”