Sunday, December 2, 2018

School's out!

Do you remember as a kid looking forward to Christmas break, or summer break? You just dreamed about all the fun you'd have when you finally heard, "School's out!" The possibilities were endless - that is until you realized the 'break' was not endless and the parents may just have a different idea of how you should while away your time! We were given a break, but did we always get to enjoy it exactly the way we thought we would? Not always - maybe bits and pieces of the dream - but not usually exactly what we thought we'd do. Our friends weren't available when we wanted them to be, the demands of being part of a family may have pulled us a little in another direction, and the things we thought we could leave until another day just mounted up. Maybe 'school's out' carries a very different meaning - maybe it actually means you now have to make more choices for yourself, put into practice more of what you have learned, and get down and dirty with some stuff that you have been putting off!

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 MSG

We have received much through our relationship with Christ, but when we really stop to think about it, how much of what we have received are we actually 'living out' each and everyday? The honest truth is that we sometimes have a whole lot more 'book knowledge' stored up and very little of it gets put into practice! The faith we live is the one we will replicate in others. If we just get acquainted with Jesus, we will be passing on 'acquaintance' relationship. There will be no depth to it. If we perhaps spend a little less time focusing on the 'book knowledge' that just tells us ABOUT Jesus and focus on getting to really know him, perhaps what we have to pass on will be more of an intimate relationship with Jesus!

The rooting is solid. The foundation is laid with perfection. All that remains is that the growth occur in such a way that fruit is produced - shelter is secure. The thing that draws others to Christ is not that we have merely growth - it is that we produce something with that growth that makes others desire to share in that which we have. My neighbor down the way has a pomegranate bush that overgrows the fence line and hang heavy with fruit at the end of summer and early fall. Yet, he lets many fall to the ground, unharvested, rotting away and picked at by the birds. My sister has actually stopped to tell him she'd like to harvest a few since he doesn't seem to, but has been turned away because he doesn't want anyone else to have that fruit. The fruit is desirous to those who are hungry - but we have to be willing to give it away, not just put it on display!

We pretty much have to admit that we each know our way around this thing called 'faith' - we are comfortable in our relationship with Christ. Our book learning has been going on for some time now, and we kind of feel like we have 'mastered' some of the subjects. Yet, book learning rarely transforms lives. It must be put into practice for it to begin to impact living! Even a doctor knows he must practice his 'book learning' on real subjects! He cannot possibly benefit society with his study of medicine until he does something with it other than storing it away in his memory! The same is true with our faith - it is meant to be real, vibrant, and inviting. It is meant to draw others to Christ. What most of us need to hear more than anything today is that 'school's out'! It is time to take this living, breathing relationship with Christ outside the walls of our 'salvation schoolroom' and let it begin to impact the lives of those around us! Just sayin!