This morning I headed out on my long commute to church and stopped at Starbucks for my “grande black ice tea, no sugar.”
I sat behind a bluish/green mini-van with tinted windows and a chaotic mass of bumper stickers – all with one theme – everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe.
The owner had the ever-common “coexist” sticker; the one with the icons of a dozen or so “religions.” She had additional bumper stickers which covered the religions not mentioned on the first sticker. A peace sign was attached to the back window along with a couple stickers I couldn’t interpret, but I did understand their message. Another said “spiritual gangster” (a line of yoga clothing which melds ancient beliefs with the modern world).
I counted them.
I got the point. She is tolerant and open to all beliefs.
I don’t understand that concept. Even without the strong faith that I have, I wouldn’t understand it. If “religions” are a belief system, how can they all be right? (And no, I don’t see Christianity as a religion, but rather a relationship we have with our Heavenly Father – that’s another post.) If who I believe in is the “true” god (lower case on purpose) than how can the next religion over have the “true” god? They can’t all be the one and only “true” god. If I trusted in one of these man-made religions, my belief would have to be “the only one of many only true gods” and therefore not true at all.
Ok. I got my tea and headed on down the road. Thirty minutes later I stood with a full auditorium of people and sang:
O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
And I thought about the lady in the Starbucks line. She can’t sing a song like this. At least she can’t sing it and mean it. Instead she would have to sing: “Consider all the works Thy hands have made … unless this is a work someone else has made.”
I was still thinking about the contrast between the bumper-stickered van and the song as the pastor began his message from Mark. He spoke about the children coming to Christ and the disciples pushing them away. We all know what happened. Christ rebuked the disciples and then said, “Let the children come to Me.”(Our pastor went on to say that the word “rebuke” indicates that Christ became irate at the actions of the disciples.)
The pastor paused in his message and asked those in the auditorium (about 2,000) to raise their hands if they had trusted Christ as a young child. I couldn’t tell for sure, but I am estimating that at least half of the people (if not more) raised their hands. He emphasized that we have a job to do – we need to reach the children.
We know that, right? We know that childhood is when many are most receptive to the gospel message, the message of the one, true God.
The problem is. The world also has a message. “Child, it doesn’t matter what you believe. Each to his own. You have no right to push your beliefs on others and they have no right to push their beliefs on you.”
The world’s message can be appealing.
The world’s message can be relentless.
The world’s message can be persuasive.
The world’s message just seems like it’s the popular thing to believe.
I, I am the Lord,
and besides Me there is no savior. (Isaiah 43:11)
We need to teach our kids that the message of the gospel of Christ is the ONLY message.
And we need to be wise in our telling of the message.
So our children will understand and trust in Christ and grow strong in their faith.
So they will not be influenced …
… even in a Starbuck’s drive-thru …