Many people in life try to live very quiet lives while others are thrust into a spotlight. This spotlight comes sometimes at the choosing of the individual and at other times because of remarkable talent or a set of circumstances. I guess, for all people, they are known in some way. Each of us have things in our life that gives us identification. For some, it may be stellar athletic ability, for others it may be a spirit of love and understanding. Some individuals are known because of the jobs they have or the place they live or because of their family members. How are you known? Are you known as you think you are known? Are you known how you want to be known?
In 1995, when my pap was sick in the hospital, I had gone to visit him. It was difficult to see him in bed without strength and so tired. This was the man that took me to the oil field with him at a very young age. This was the man that I had worked side by side with in the garden while the temperatures swelled close to 100 degrees. Pap and I worked in the hay and built fence for livestock. In the best shape of my life, my pap could still work circles around me. I suppose it was this work ethic that helped me to experience success as a football player. He taught how to be tough and continue to work hard when circumstances were tough. He also taught me about being a loving father, grandfather and Christian man. I briefly speak of these experiences with my pap to say that he knew me as we worked together and knew me with what I considered successes in my life.
While in the hospital with Pap that day, he had other visitors that came to see him. Pap was pleased to see the faces of friends from home who had made the hour and a half drive to see how he was doing. I knew that my Pap was proud of me and I knew that he would introduce me to these gentlemen. How would he introduce me though? I liked to be known as a football player. I like to be known as a college graduate. I liked to be known as working in the field of mental health. These were very important to me. I thought that these identifiers were extremely important to me in my life and surely they would be mentioned by my pap. When the introductions were made, Pap said, “This is my grandson, Scott. He is a member of the church and is working with the youth group at Waverly Church of Christ”. WOW. I have never forgotten this moment. What I thought was important was not really to my pap. And he was right. Being a Christian is the greatest compliment and identifying mark of anyone that lives.
I often look back on the lessons that my pap taught me. This is one of the greatest ones that I remember. Though I enjoyed being known a particular way, truly there was no life-giving benefit in it. Being known as a faithful servant and Christian is the greatest identity one can have. Jesus in teaching His disciples said this, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, bur whoever loses his life for My sake will fine it. For was profit is it ta a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26).
Many people sacrifice a life that is of a faithful Christian to gain the whole world. What a great tragedy as the world and the riches of it will eventually come to an end. The Christian life is the life of promise. The Christian life is the life hope. Whatever we are known for in this life, make sure that you are known as a faithful Christian first. Don’t be known for that which will eventually end but be known for that which will live on forever. “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it: but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).
Scott is the minister at the Elm Grove Church of Christ. Meeting times are Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for Bible class and 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. for worship. Mid-week Bible study is on Wednesday at 6:30p.m. Please visit our website at elmgrovechurchofchrist.org. He invites any questions or comments and would love to sit down and study. He can be reached at the Elm Grove Church of Christ at 740-493-2451.