Permanent Faith by Keith Giles
I was reminded recently of a story about a young policeman in Virginia who was sent out to warn residents to evacuate their homes just before Hurricane Isabella hit.
The young policeman was surprised to find that most people refused to leave. "We'll be just fine," people said. "We've lived here for twenty years and no Hurricane is gonna make us leave now."
One of the more experienced policeman, a seargant, found out what was happening and invited him to watch as he went to knock on the door of the next house in line. When the person answered the door the seargant explained that they were being advised to warn residents to leave the area because of the severity of the Hurricane which was only hours away from landfall.
"No thanks," the homeowner said. "We're gonna ride this one out, officer."
The seargant nodded and reached into his shirt pocket. He handed the man a Sharpie permanent marker and said, "Not a problem, sir. Just go ahead and write your social security number and a phone number for your next of kin somewhere on your torso for me."
The homeowner stared back at the officer. "Excuse me?"
The seargant explained, "Well sir, when we pull your body from the wreckage we just need a way to identify you and notify your family."
The man paused a moment and then handed the Sharpie back to the seargant. "Hang on while I get my things."
This story was orginally told to illustrate our need to let go of our worldy possessions and embrace the Kingdom of God. However, as I listened to this story I couldn't help but sense another application to the Kingdom of God. I think God is looking for a generation of people who would gladly take that Sharpie and write on their bodies because they have made up their minds to give up their lives for the Kingdom of God.
The people in this story who left their homes in the Hurricane did so because they loved their lives more than they loved their possessions- which is a great lesson for all of us to embrace. However, those who follow Christ are called to love Him, and the Kingdom of God, more than they love their own lives. For us, the followers of Jesus, the only real choice we have is to take that permanent marker, give notice to others who find our bodies, and continue living out the surrendered life in the midst of the storm.
We, the Church, have been called to stand our ground. Jesus promised us that that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against us. We have been called to count the cost and to give up anything - everything, for the Kingdom of God.
We have to be a people who are willing not just to live for Christ, but to lay down our lives and take up our cross, daily, to die for Him as well.
When Japanese Kamikaze pilots took to the air they only had enough gas in the tank for a one way trip. Their last will and testament had already been written. Their funeral was held on the airstrip before they took to the skies.
"When Jesus calls a man, he bids him to come and die." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Those of us who call ourselves follower of Christ have a high calling. Not just to love our lives more than we love our possessions, but greater still to love Jesus more than we love our lives.
Would you be willing to take that marker and sign away your life on this Earth in order to weather the storm? Can we trust God to carry us through it all? Or will we run for cover when they come and knock on our door?
I hope, when they find my body in the wreckage, they will know that I have lived for Christ until my very last breath.
I pray for God's Grace to make it so.
Over at my main website there's quite a dialog going on about the nature of leadership in the Church and God's design for His Church. I welcome you to join the conversation if you're interested.
There's also a bit of the same debate that spilled over into last week's [SU], "Out of Business"
HOUSE CHURCH 101 - NOVEMBER
Our first HC101 class was awesome. You can read about it
Our next one will be on Saturday, November 1st.
Find out more