Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3578

Jump Start # 3578

2 Corinthians 3:2 “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men.”

  Our verse today worded in the King James comes out as: “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts…”. And, that makes us think of the hymn, “The World’s Bible.” And, in many ways, that is very true. When people see you, right or wrong, they make three judgments based upon what they see in you. First, they make a judgment about your faith. They may think that you are strict and narrow. They might conclude, from what they see, that you are a hypocrite. You talk a good game, but your talk and walk do not match. They might see a picture of true love, grace and faith. This is what a Christian is supposed to look like. Secondly, they make a judgment about the congregation you attend. They assume that just about everyone in that church is like you. Now, if their judgment of you is not positive, they will have a concluding negative judgment about the congregation. They do this without ever stepping foot into the church building, This is all based upon what they see in you. Finally, from what they see in you, they make a judgment about Jesus. The Jesus you present to them, through the way you live, is favorable or something they want to run from. Your attitudes. Your words. Your reaction to stress. All of these things forms a version of the Bible based upon you.

  In that hymn, “The World’s Bible,” the question is asked, “What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?” I have in my library some looks that are that way. It’s difficult to read them. The poor print job distorts the message. The hymn is not asking about a literal book. It’s not asking about the print in your Bible. It’s asking about the way you live. You are our letter, Paul said. The way you live is witnessed by so many people. There are those who watch you and you are not even aware of that.

  So, what if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?

  First, none of us will be the perfect version of Jesus. We’d love to be, but we won’t. There are times when our type will be blurry. There will be times when we appear crooked. This is when honesty makes a huge difference. We apologize when we have done wrong. We admit that we are a work in progress. We are not Jesus. He was the perfect, unblemished sacrifice.

  Some leave a congregation because of the way they were treated. Gossip, ignoring others, petty attitudes hurt friendships and ruin fellowships. But Jesus has never treated us like this. People may have neglected you. Jesus didn’t. People may have been mean to you. Jesus wasn’t. The message isn’t about us. It’s about Jesus. Even blurry, we can point people to Jesus.

  Second, we must do a better job of walking in Christ. Some are incredible examples. Some are terrible examples. Just getting baptized and sitting in a church building isn’t it. Are you walking daily with the Lord? Are you letting His word dwell within you? Do you leave your faith and convictions at the door of the church building when you leave? Maybe there would be less blurry print if we did a better job of being devoted to the Lord. We put up with mean spirits and gossipy tongues far too long. Although those folks may have been baptized a long time ago, they certainly are not walking very close to the Savior. We can do a better job of making the print less blurry in our lives.

  Third, what we want the world to see is our kindness, our generosity, our faith in the Lord, and our hearts of service. This is what will catch the eye of your family and the world. Being quick to forgive. Being one of the first to jump in and help out. Knowing when to keep quiet and not say anything. Living joyfully. Bringing sunshine upon a gloomy world. Less judgmental and more inviting. Sharing your time, your heart and your life for others.

  When the world sees these things, they may not notice the crooked type so much. But with pointed fingers, a judgmental tongue and a blaming attitude, the world will revert to a defensive position and start picking apart your life. The flaws seem greater when one is looking for them.

  Many a person first noticed a Christian before he knew anything about what he believed. Kindness attracts. And, in a season of hatred, racism, and destruction, mouths that flow with gentleness and love are refreshing. Christians are not to blend in. We are not like everyone else. Be not conformed, but be transformed is our calling in Christ.

  You are the world’s Bible.

Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today…

He has no feet but our feet to lead me in His way;

He has no tongue but our tongues to tell men how He died,

He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible the careless world will read,

We are the sinner’s gospel, We are the scoffer’s creed;

We are the Lord’s last message given in deed and word,

What if the type is crooked? What if print is blurred?

What if our hands are busy with other things than His?

What if our feet are walking where sins allurement is?

What if our tongues are speaking of things His life would spurn,

How can we hope to help Him and welcome His return?

Anne Johnson Flint (1866-1932)