I became aware of the phrase, “One thing” while reading a book by G. Campbell Morgan this week. I have rephrased his words to fit here: The Psalmist said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Jesus said to the rich young ruler, “One thing you lack,” and later to a burdened woman, “One thing is needful.” Later Paul wrote, “One thing I do, forgetting the things behind, I press towards the mark.”
One thing! Some say, “I should not like to be a person of one idea.” Why not? Doesn’t it depend upon your idea? If your idea is big enough then you don’t have room for more than one. If the one idea is to dwell in the house of the Lord; to render absolute allegiance to God and follow Christ; if the one idea is to be so completely under His domination to fulfill His purpose; if the one idea is to reach the goal, and to be His instrument of blessing; you do not want two ideas.
The trouble with us is that the passion for variety puts God in a list with other things. That is the divided heart. We need to pray, “Unite my heart to serve You, O God.”
Peter was a fisherman, and fishermen have some good traits. However, at the end of the Gospel of John Jesus instructed Peter to become a shepherd. Quite a challenge, for shepherding is entirely different from fishing, and also Jesus has some extraordinarily peculiar sheep: Unkempt, dirty, awkward, pushy, and gone astray!
There are two ways to herd sheep. One way is with dogs. Dogs bark and snarl, chase the sheep, nip at their heels, and jump on their backs to get them to go in a direction.
On the other hand there is the good shepherd. He leads his sheep, calls them by name, feeds them, and tends to their needs.
The charge given to Peter in John 21 must become the charge to the church today. As Christians we must care for the flock, not like barking dogs, but like the good shepherd; leading people with Jesus words. Each of us has gifts from the Lord, and we are to use those gifts to protect and perfect the flock. In so doing we find ourselves with rejoicing hearts in our service to Jesus, and in turn He rejoices with us.
A nominal Christian is a Christian who in reality treats Jesus as if he were an insignificant or trifling person. At one time there was reverence for him, but then the challenge of life happened. Events came and went in the person’s life and each was met, but the once held reverence for God was replaced by self-reliance. The once held awe for God was condensed down to yearly nods at Christmas and Easter.
On occasion there were scares in the nominal Christians life: A sick child, the results of a medical test, or the death of a beloved, but 12,000 days have passed, 12,000 shrugs, 12,000 ho-hums and it has come down to, “God who?”
What impresses me about Jesus is he is a man of invitation: “Come follow me,” (Mt. 4:19); “Come to me” (Mt. 11:28); “Come and see” (John 1:39); “Come and drink” (Jon 7:37); “Come and dine” (John 21:12). Jesus is always inviting us back to him, and in those invitations there is never judgment.
Life is a challenge, that’s a constant, but it is never challenging to God. Have you become a nominal Christian? It’s not too late, for Jesus is inviting you back.
Nominal no more,
As we start another year pause, look back, and reflect on the time that has gone by – the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all. Take a moment to reflect on the twist and turns of the years and see the overall direction that your life is heading. Use this moment to ask some hard questions. One question worth asking and reflecting on is: “Am I a wanderer or am I a pilgrim?” The question is worth pondering for the answer tells you what type of life you are leading.
A wanderer is a person who moves about without any particular destination or purpose. They move about until they bump into some immovable objection, wake up long enough to rub the new welt on their head, change direction, and continue on as if nothing happened. A pilgrim is a person on a journey to a sacred place; they are a person with a destination.
As you begin this year ask, “Am I a wanderer or a pilgrim?” If you are a wanderer, aren’t you tired of bumping your head? Why not become a pilgrim, and make your destination God? You see salvation has been completed; it is now a matter of your will.
Many blessing for a safe and happy New Year,