“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV). Friend To
Charles Swindoll tells the story of four scholars who were arguing over Bible translations. One said he preferred the King James Version because of its eloquent old English, another preferred the American Standard because of its literalism and a third preferred the way the Moffatt translation captured the reader’s attention. After giving the issue considerable thought, the fourth scholar admitted, “I have personally preferred my mother’s translation.” The others scholars chuckled, but as he explained, “Yes, she translated it. She translated each page of the Bible into life. It is the most convincing translation I ever saw.”
You have probably heard people say, “My life is an open book.” Well it certainly is with children. They are reading about life from every page. They are finding answers to many of life’s questions: “How, as a wife, am I supposed to love and honor my husband?” “How am I supposed to spend my money?” “How should a Christian act?”
Not only are children reading the pages of our lives to learn what a Christian looks like, but they also are reading us to draw conclusions about what God is like. Think back to your own childhood. How did you perceive God? In your eyes, was He a harsh taskmaster who sat in the clouds, looking down with disdain every time you made a mistake? Did He carry a big stick, ready to whip you into shape? Did He keep a big score book where He made notations when you did something bad and gave you red check marks when you did something good?
Or did you see Him as a loving Father with children clamoring around His feet and climbing into His welcoming lap? Did you see Him as a Daddy who tucked His children in at night and listened to them talk about anything and everything? Did you see Him as being not mad but hurt when you made a mistake?
As the authors of the Parent Factor say, “Whether they have been loving or aloof, kind or harsh, supportive or neglectful, parents have played a major role with forming your view of God… The result can be wonderful or tragic.”
Children are reading the pages of our lives to see what a Christian is supposed to look like. A self-righteous, boastful Sunday school teacher was preaching to his class on the importance of exemplary living. With his head held high and chest thrust out, he strutted back and forth across the room. He asked, “Now, children, why do people call me a Christian?”
There was a moment of silence. Then one boy raised his hand.
“Yes?” asked the teacher.
“Probably because they don’t know you very well,” responded the boy.
They had read the pages of the teacher’s life and he had come up wanting. Here’s a poem I’d like us to consider:
You are writing a gospel,
A chapter each day.
By deeds that you do,
By words that you say.
Men [children] read what you write,
Whether faithless or true.
Say! What is the gospel,
According to you?’
Dear LORD, I know people are watching me to see what a Christian is like. I know that I am an ambassador for You. That really scares me a little. Today, help me to be cognizant that others are watching. Help me to represent You well today. Help me to show the world that You are a loving, caring, Father who treasures His children and wants the best for them.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Think back to your childhood. Do you have any preconceived ideas about God that are a result of how you saw your earthly parents?
Whether your parents were wonderful or wanting, they are, or were, still human and have feet of clay. When it comes to our Heavenly Father, we need to take our earthly parent’s face off of the Almighty God. He is the only perfect parent.
Now, as an ambassador for Christ today, I want you to go about the business of representing Him well today!
Today’s devotion was adapted from Sharon’s book,
Motherhood isn’t easy. If it was, it wouldn’t start with something called labor! If you are a mom who could use some encouragement for the most important job you will ever love, then this is the book for you. And if you know a mom who needs some encouragement today, what a great gift! Sharon will even personalize it for you. Just log on to her website and check it out. While you’re there, view an encouraging video as she cheers moms on!