Go Ahead and Shake It
By: Keith Olbricht
No, it is not time for Christmas just yet, but don’t you love seeing a beautifully wrapped package with your name on it? What is inside? How much does it weigh? Does it rattle? Is there a corner of the wrapping that might be a little loose? Can you get a little glimpse, any hint of what it might be?
OK, so you may be past that point in your life. You see a package there with your name on it, but if you feel any excitement at all you suppress it. You tell yourself that it is probably just socks or underwear and there is no need to get excited. As a matter of fact, in order to avoid any display or outward show of enthusiasm, you may go in the opposite direction and seemingly ignore the very existence of the package. That is what mature, dignified adults do. Right?
Yes, it is sad. At some point in life, most will transition from being able to show excitement to not showing excitement. Most sad of all, though, is that at some point, this happens to many Christians about their Christianity! Read 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7:
For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.
In case you did not notice, the gospel came gift-wrapped to them in the perfect package. It had everything. Word, power, the Spirit, assurance. What more you be asked for? Figuratively speaking of course, but these people in Thessalonica took the package and weighed it, measured it, shook it, and tore it open with great enthusiasm (“…having received the word…with joy of the Holy Spirit….”) Do you think they were excited? I cannot imagine them not being excited!
Where is our joy? Where is our excitement? Have we become so “mature” that we cannot allow the enthusiasm we have the powerful, Spirit-given, assurance-backed word of the Gospel of Christ? If you think that is perhaps you, I encourage you to take another look at the package. You already know what is inside: forgiveness of sins, sanctification, justification, and eternal life. Or did you maybe step somehow differently from the Thessalonians. The gospel came to them, they became followers of the Lord, and then they became examples to others.
Go ahead. Pick up your Bible and give it another shake.
(This post printed in the Paintsville Church of Christ bulletin for October 8, 2017.)