In a few days, multitudes of people in this country and around the world will supposedly celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Many will attend some kind of special church service in His honor. Others will simply feel special feelings about the Savior as they go about the day. Specific references to the birth of Christ will be uttered in prayers by some. A large number of people will get drunk!
It’s a good thing when people are moved to contemplate the blessing of God sending His Son to be our Savior, to come into this world as a man and die on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for the guilt of our sins (Heb. 2:9). It is even better when people are motivated to reflect on their personal relationship with the Savior. But how much is the Lord truly honored when people give Him some limited attention for one day?
How would each of us feel if somebody we truly love, somebody for whom we have sacrificed greatly, basically ignored us almost all of the time? What if they purposely put us out of their mind and out of their life, virtually all of the time, so as to not have to deal with us? They don’t want to be around us, don’t want to spend time with us, never come to see us or even give us a call on the phone. But once or twice a year they suddenly shower us with supposed expressions of love, affection and dedication. Then, within a day or two they basically put us out of their lives again. They repeat this process year after year.
They expect us to accept their brief attention as being sincere, and they expect us to be gracious toward them, watch over them, protect them and do good things for them on an ongoing basis. But they’d appreciate it if we’d do so from afar, so as not to intrude in their lives too much. How would we feel? How would we respond?
Obviously, we would see such demonstrations as superficial, insincere, piecemeal, even hypocritical. We might even take them as an affront, an insult. Many of us would probably be offended by such repeated disingenuous behavior.
Is this not exactly how a great many people act who will supposedly honor Jesus in just a few days? How can we expect such surface level devotion to be pleasing to our Savior? The best way to honor Jesus is to live our lives- daily- in His service. We honor Him as we consistently live faithful to His teachings (Jn. 14:15). Jesus spoke of people who “draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8). Such is clearly demonstrated in a life that only pays attention to the Savior one or two days a year and then is lived disobediently, unfaithfully and dishonorably the rest of the time.
Let us, as we come to the end of another year, honestly examine ourselves as to how we, or even if we, honor Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Let us make the commitment, make up our minds, to honor Him indeed from this point on throughout our lives and on a daily basis…
Gary L. Hutchens