Thought for the Day: I was a young seminary student when I was confronted on the streets of West Lafayette, Indiana, by a very passionate Christian who kept on asking, “Do you believe Jesus is Lord?” It was usually followed by a rather threatening suggestion for those who did not believe. Many who walked by gave a quick affirmative answer, though I believe most folks just wanted to get away without any other confrontation. I, on the other hand, wanted to engage the man. “So, what do you mean by Lord,” I asked him. “Well if you believed then you would know,” I was told. Being a little smug, I responded by telling him that such an answer was usually given by someone who didn’t know. He got angry and rattle off four or five scriptures that still didn’t answer my question. We went back and forth, but in the end, he never answered the question. It is one thing to claim Jesus as Lord, but it is hard to claim, with any sense of integrity, something you cannot explain.
As I understand it, to claim Jesus as Lord, is to say that I am willing to make his Kingdom and its values central to my life. In short, what Jesus said and did should be clearly seen in the lives of those who claim him as Lord. This is where my encounter gets a bit humorous, for though the man had every right to make his proclamation, the way he posed his question – with such anger and arrogance – seemed nothing like Jesus. If he wanted to encourage people to claim Jesus as Lord, I would have recommended a story, a parable of sorts, and not with a closing that demanded belief. Jesus often told stories and just let them be, as if he trusted the power of the story to be like a seed settling into the soil of his listeners’ souls.
In the end, to claim Jesus as Lord is to say that I desire to be a good citizen of God’s Kingdom here on earth, a Kingdom defined by mercy and gentleness, love and grace. And any invitation to others to join me shouldn’t use intimidation, fear or angry declarations.
Prayer: Lord God, make your way our way, your ways our ways. It won’t be easy as it is so often counter intuitive, and may not produce the immediate results that so many want to see. Yet you have sent forth a model, and provided us a mentor, in Jesus of Nazareth. Thank you! Amen.
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