Laura and I made a quick trip down to Florida over the weekend where it was a privilege for me to speak for the church in Niceville. The church there represented the name of their town very "nicely!" They were a wonderful group of people and they were hosting a special Friends' Day.
It was very enjoyable to be able to do something that we don't often get to do. We sat and listened to someone else teach Bible class. The brother did a very good job with his lesson. He was discussing the importance of the Christian's confidence because of Jesus.
I made a conscientious decision to try my best to listen to the lesson and not think about preaching material that could be gained from the class (that is not an easy thing to do for preachers!). I didn't take notes, just turned in my Bible and tried my best to follow along with the lesson.
Just in passing, the teacher made a comment that caused me to make a mental note. It also caused me to question whether or not I had been doing what he stated we should do as Christians.
He said that one of the descriptions of the early church was that they were recognized as the “people who call upon the name of the Lord." He based his comment on Acts 22. I've been thinking about this comment all weekend long. I can't get it out of my mind. It is true that some around them recognized the early church as the "people who call on the name of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:2)
So, what about those of us who are Christians, now, in the year 2010? What do people recognize about our lives? Do they see us in any way different from everyone else in the world? Would we ever be recognized as the "people who call on the name of the Lord?"
Of course, calling on the name of the Lord, is at least in part, how we become Christians in the first place. Brother Ananias told Saul, "Why are you waiting, arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
Many religious leaders would tell people that they should call on the name of the Lord to be saved. The problem is that fail to explain what that means. It is more than just saying the Lord's name. Jesus Himself was very clear about this when He said, "Not every one who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven will enter." (Matthew 7:21)
Ananias explained what it means to call on the name of the Lord by telling Saul to be baptized. But what about after one becomes a Christian? What would we need to do to call on the name of the Lord? If calling on the name of the Lord involves obedience before we become Christians, surely the same is true after we become Christians,
Again, it is more than just saying the Lord's name. Many people call on the name of the Lord when they are in trouble, when they are struggling with some of the reversals of life, when they feel alone.
Isn't it interesting how many people in our world readily call on the name of the Lord to praise Him? More than one of this year's inductee's into the Pro Football Hall of Fame took the time to "thank" Jesus or to "praise the Lord" for making this "honor" possible!
O, I can already hear some of my brothers and sisters in the Lord saying, "but Jeff, that's not what we are about. We are not supposed to wear our Christianity on our chest like a badge."
I understand that we are not to seek the praise of men, or live Christian lives just to be seen of men. But, it is also true that we are not to hide our lights from the presence of others.
We are to let our lights shine before men so that they will Glorify our God (Matthew 5:14-16). We are to let the Glory of Jesus be seen in our countenance. “For God who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the one who has shone in our hearts is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) Can't we find a way to let people know we are Christians without boasting about it?
Can't we let Jesus be seen in the way that we live our lives at school, on the team, at work, in our neighborhoods, at the mall, in our homes, at the restaurant, and everywhere we go? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the people around us recognized Christians as the "people who call on the name of the Lord?"
So how about it students, student athletes, student leaders, student performers, why not let this school year be the one that people remember you as a person who calls "on the name of the Lord?"
How about it employers & employees, why shouldn't we be people who are recognized as those who "call on the name of the Lord?"
What about those of us who are moms & dads, why not let our children know that we are people who "call on the name of the Lord?"
Dear Father, help us to call on the name of the Lord every day by the way we conduct our lives, by the way we relate to others, by the way we approach the world. Help us, dear God not to boast about our lives, but to reflect the Glory to Jesus. Help us become known in our communities, our schools, and in our places of work as the "people who call on the name of the Lord!"