A few weeks ago the pastor of our church asked us to think of someone we know who is really good; like just plain wholesome goodness. He told us to think of someone who has the kind of uprightness of character that others can’t help but straighten up and notice; the kind of person who makes you feel so good because they are just plain so good. Then he reminded us that Jesus is looking for servants who are good and faithful, not great and successful. He exhorted us that too many Christians are striving to be great (think “ta-da!”) and successful (reputation, prestige, fill-in-the-blank) instead of quietly, with purity of character, being truly good and truly faithful. It was a helpful reminder of what is valuable to our Lord.
Something you should know about the Vana’s is that we desperately desire to be fruitful in ministry. We don’t want to spin our wheels, waste time or resources, or leave any place we live unchanged for the Kingdom. We pray to this end. We ache and pine to make God really proud.
Wade, Kirsten, and Tricia moved in next door a few weeks ago. The three just graduated high school and have proven to be friendly and courteous neighbors. We share treats and conversation and have come to enjoy them immensely. Last week Wade and Kirsten (dating) gave Adelina a stuffed animal and we chatted in the hallway while they played with her. Somehow Kirsten noticed my wedding ring and I pointed out the two filigree butterflies which set the diamond. She gushed and admired and even Wade took a second glance. I explained that the butterflies are the greatest symbol of my identity. I had a propensity for making bad choices before I gave my heart to Christ. When He came in, He set me free. I told them the verse which is the title of this blog (Galatians 5:1) and mentioned how that verse was printed on small boxes which held Monarch butterflies that were released at my wedding. Butterflies, I told them, symbolize what Christ has done for me and what He continues to do each day.
I couldn’t believe it. I got to share the gospel! I got to share my testimony and it was natural, unaffected, and unpretentious. It was the truth and I could feel the power of the Spirit working in me as I shared. I then got to tell them about how awesome our church is and how much we enjoy going. Will they make it to church one day? Will they find new life in Christ? All I know is that the Hound of Heaven is pursuing them so they’d better buckle up!
These are the moments that we pray and yearn for. May they grow more frequent and more common. Oh God, let us be found good (like Campbell’s mmm mmm good) and let us be found faithful. I’d trade an ounce of that guild for a mountain of “great and successful”. Wouldn’t you?