There was a man named Cyprian who lived a couple of hundred years after Jesus was born. He wrote a letter to a friend and in it he wrote:
“It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a company of quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasures of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not: they are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are the Christians,—and I am one of them.”
The line, “These people, Donatus, are the Christians,—and I am one of them” is one of my favorite things I learned in seminary. Cyprian saw something in this group and what he saw made him want to become one of them. He would have been at first curious, then convinced, and finally committed.
Last night in our church administrative board meeting someone asked how long our church has been buying firewood for people who need it. He said until I mentioned it in church a couple of months ago, he didn’t know we did that. The history of this church quietly helping people goes back a long time. He said something to the effect of, “I am thrilled to be a part of a church that does that.”
I’ve had lots of people tell me that people they know have told them they have seen our church going on a regular basis to the homeless shelter, holding free community dinners, hosting dinners for athletic teams for the high school, etc. Some of us are going to the Moore, Oklahoma area in June to build storm cellars and work on rebuilding homes from the tornado. I’m trying to set up another mission trip to Long Island, NY for hurricane Sandy relief.
The Christians that Cyprian saw 1800 years ago were not doing what they did to attract people like Cyprian. They were just being obedient and being who God called them to be in Christ. If it drew people to Christ, then glory to God. Likewise, our church is not doing what we do to draw people to us. I just want us to be obedient to who God calls us to be. But there is no doubt that many people in our area are going to say, “I want to be part of a church like that.”
I just want to be obedient and be who God calls me to be. I want to live like that.
Please listen to this song from the group Sidewalk Prophets –