"... nor thieves...
will inherit the kingdom of God"
1 Corinthians 6:10
I was going through some old papers the other day ~ sorting through things, wondering which items were keepers and which had a date with the recycle bin. It's funny how something can be so valuable, like the kids' old artwork or school papers, until you have a whole box of artwork or school papers, and then one starts to look a whole lot like another. Then the unusual or special ones stand out, and you have a better idea of what you want to save.
So some of this was artwork and crafts the kids did in their early years at Bible study. This Bible study that we've been involved in for the last 13 years has the most amazing Children's program. It's a wonderful, international organization called Community Bible Study, and the kids registered are not just with caregivers, they are being taught.
As a matter of fact, when the kids were about 5 and 2, we decided to move to a church that was a little closer to our new home, so we spent several Sundays attending different churches in the area. And not only was I interested in the pastor and the church itself, I was also interested in the children's classrooms. I would visit those, and talk to the teachers and find out about the program and the goals of the teacher. And finally one Sunday the Apple of my Eye said to me, "Sweetie, you need to stop comparing all these Sunday Schools to your Bible Study. You're not gonna find that anywhere else."
And it was true. Children's ministries can be amazing, God-filled classrooms, but they can also be staffed by harried volunteers, pressured into service by someone at the church. We've seen both over the years. So it helped me to know that my kids were covered ~ they were hearing about God, and learning about the Bible at church, at Bible Study, and at home. And if any one of those three (including me) were lacking in something, someone else would be picking up the slack.
As I looked through that artwork from long ago, I remembered a very interesting conversation I had with my little girl when she was about five. I asked her if she was willing to obey God and to live for Him ~ did she "have Jesus in her heart" ?
She looked at me pityingly (she did that a lot when she was five) and said exaggeratedly, "Yes, Mom." So I said, "How do you know?" she said, like it was obvious, "Because, Mom, I'm not a robber."
It made me laugh, because it seemed so plain to her, but a lot of people think that way. I remember hearing a Christian athlete in an interview, saying he'd been asked once if he was a Christian. He said yes, and when asked how he knew he was a Christian, he said, "Because I'm an American."
As patriotic and heartwarming as that might have seemed to him, however, it means nothing. Not everyone who lives in America ~ even thirty years ago ~ is a Christian. Not everyone who goes to church on Sunday is a Christian. Not even everyone who reads the Bible (or attends Bible study) is a Christian. And not being a robber doesn't mean you're automatically going to heaven.
The point I needed to make with my daughter is that she had to invite Jesus into her heart. He is the Redeemer, but in a way, it's all on us. That's the whole "free will" thing, ya know?
So, what say you? Are you a robber?
Kidding. But even if you're not, you're a sinner. But you can be washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus. And all it takes is asking.
~ "Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come into him and dine with him,
and he with Me." ~