I don’t know if this picture is real or an internet hoax, but it certainly provides us with a cautionary tale about paying attention to our own Christian walk.
How many times have we come across well-meaning Christian people who want others to know the love of Jesus, but their approach is anything but loving? They want people to know that Jesus cares, but they don’t seem to care about a person’s situation and context and seeming more concerned about putting a notch on their belt that they got somebody to make a profession of faith. I have heard people call this “winning one for the kingdom” as if they were keeping score, or worse yet think they saved that person rather than “42”.
Here’s another one. Think of the church sign that says, “Read the Bible. It will scare the hell out of you.” I have to admit that when I was younger I thought this was a cute saying. But I have experienced many walking wounded who actually find the Bible scary and judgmental because they haven’t been guided to the true message contained within.
I have learned through the years that ordinary people want to be loved by God and by others. You can tell them until you are blue-in-the-face that God loves them, but if you do not demonstrate that love to them (actually living it), they will associate this mismatched messaging with something judgmental at best and bullying at worst. They won’t discover that Jesus cares, but instead, they think that “Jesus scares.”
I believe every Christian has to routinely dig deep within themselves and ask what it means to inherit the Kingdom of God with the Holy Spirit’s help. If the Kingdom is simply the trappings, pomp, and circumstance, people will likely see an elitist who thinks only about their position in the King’s court. But if they experience a loving, caring, sacrificial ambassador of the Kingdom, then they will likely see the KING. And then he will invite them into his Kingdom.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18
Maybe this is what “Prosper” really means when we say, “Live Long and Prosper.”