I love to hear the voices of children at play. I don’t know if it because I am from a BIG family or what, but a child’s voice gleefully playing together with other children always brings a smile to my face. Maybe it is part of being the oldest of 7 children. With 26 grandchildren, even more great grandchildren, my parents gave all of us a legacy of great feelings for kids. That being said, increasingly, I am hearing more and more children saying in exclamatory tones a couple of words that alarm me. Maybe I am just noticing something that has always been there but a new question popped into my head when I heard it today. I was out doing some errands and heard different groups of girls and boys saying, “O my God” as a part of their play.
This is not about taking the Lord’s name in vain. Maybe it should be. There is certainly a place for bringing the first and second commandments into the discussion but that wasn’t my first thought. My first thought was,
“Really? Is the Lord your God? Can you in any reasonable or understandable way say that you are a follower of the Lord? Is He your master, your director? Are you a follower of Jesus? Is there any evidence in your young life that the phrase, ‘my God’ is not a lie upon your lips?
But if that question is a good one for children, isn’t it even more appropriate for we adults? What is the evidence that our lives are guided by Christ? What is the story that our lives tell the world? Is the Lord our God? How would people know? For that matter, how would our children know? Is “God” just a word to our children, a name to be thrown around the playground as an exclamation of excitement or surprise? And maybe, that is a good place to begin a discussion.
Think about it.
Increasingly, in our day, many are calling themselves Christians but the word seems to be emptied of any historical understanding of that term.
No church attendance.
No Bible reading.
No regular prayer.
No commitment to Christian ethics.
No understanding of Christian morality.
No commitment to public witness.
No cherishing of the family of God.
No support of mission, local or foreign.
No interest in justice or care for the oppressed.
In fact, a lot of people who identify as Christian seem to be living for the same things that their neighbors are living for. I call them the “big three”–security, comfort, and convenience. But aren’t we, if we are followers of Christ, aren’t we supposed to be living for more than security and comfort and convenience? Is that what Jesus died for? Really? He just wanted us to have secure, comfortable lives, with all the convenience that we surround ourselves with from what is available to us in the richest country in the world?
I didn’t know where this post was going when I started, but now maybe I do. I have been writing articles for magazines since 1985 and books since 1994 when Broadman & Holman published my first. Ten books later, if everything I ever wrote where to disappear, never to be read again, the one thing that I would lament the most would be the little book, SETTLERS OR SOJOURNERS? (Link) (A meditation on Christian identity). It’s the book that deserves a larger treatment. It deserves a better writer. But I do think it says some important and helpful things. So if all the questions in this brief reflection have stirred anything in you, maybe a longing for a deeper more intimate walk with Christ, check it out at Amazon and the link embedded in this paragraph.