Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)
TITLE: The Gospel According to a Six-year-old
By Joanney Uthe
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“When you become a Christian, this will happen to you.” A shoestring swung at the blocks caused them to shake as an earthquake shaking a building made to withstand its blows. “But if you are a baby Christian, when Satan attacks, this will happen.” Again, the shoestring whipped through the air at the blocks, this time causing them to tumble onto the table. As my son restacked his blocks, he continued his sermon. “But I want you to be a grown-up Christian because this will happen.” He again stung the shoestring through the air, hitting the blocks without knocking them down. “And when it does, I want you to be grown-up enough to stand.”
I wondered, as he closed his short sermon, what my son had seen in his young life that represented the blocks that fell and those that withstood the whipping of life’s trials. I was amazed at how a six-year-old could have such a clear grasp of a concept with which many adults struggle. I once had a non-Christian co-worker tell me that he did not see what good being a Christian did because Christians suffered just like everyone else. Christ never promised that our lives would be easy as a result of following Him. On the contrary, He warned that we would be persecuted because of Him. John 15:18-19 says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world. That is why the world hates you.” (NIV)
Somehow, my six-year-old son recognized what my sixty-year-old friend did not. A relationship with Christ is not a guarantee against pain and suffering, but a guarantee that we will not suffer life’s trials alone or without help. In 1 Peter 4:12-13 we are told, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” (NIV)
This rejoicing is best shown in a story I once heard a missionary tell about a change of focus within the Release International organization which ministers to the persecuted church. A group from the organization was on location in a country where Christians were being persecuted. They prayed for protection of the people. Afterwards, some of the locals came up to them and asked that they pray not for the persecution to stop, but for strength to withstand the persecution. They took to heart the promise of 1 Peter 4:14 and 16, “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you .... if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” (NIV) Their prayer request was for the church to be mature enough to withstand the whipping of the life’s hardest shoestring.
Even though we live in a country where overt persecution does not exist, it is still important for us to be ‘grown-up” enough in our faith to withstand whatever trials and sufferings whip their shoestrings in our lives. Whether it is a frustrating day at the office or with the kids, or a life-threatening disease, Satan will use whatever whip he can to knock down the bricks of our relationship with God if we are not firmly rooted in His Word.
My son’s first sermon was as short as it was powerful, but not as short as the week between sermons. As soon as he dismissed the congregation, he started again with, “Last week, we talked about....”
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