Tuesday, September 30, 2008
The bottom book shelf was long overdue for some attention. It had no books, just stuff which needed a place to be piled. Chaos ruled on that shelf and since it was long overdue for straightening up, it became a Saturday morning project. I found some great stuff, some forgotten about stuff. I found old report cards from grammar school, a class picture taken in the first grade, and some old family pictures given to me by mother when she was, no doubt, doing some cleaning of her own. There were two real surprises. My first Bible was on that shelf. It was one of those zipper Bibles with pictures of important Biblical moments. When I unzipped it, I found the second surprise. Folded up inside was my baptismal certificate dated April 21, 1957 and signed by the man who would later become my step-father.
It made me think about people who have to produce a birth certificate to prove they are alive. In some places it is not enough to simply stand in front of someone who wants an official document. So, now I have proof of my baptism. It is nice to have it, but I wonder if I need it as proof that my heart has been changed since I gave it to Jesus. What if someone looked at my life, heard me say, "Yes, I am a believer in Jesus," yet, needed the official document as proof that what I was saying was actually true?
What we know is that the proof is not the paper, but the heart. Surely, there have been those moments when my life was more than proof for anyone who wondered, but what I must also confess is that there have been moments when my life was reason enough for those looking to wonder if Jesus really did make life different. As I remember those moments when heart and actions seem to be in conflict, I am made aware again of how grateful I am for this grace God so freely offers to us. I am sure you are as well.