One of my daughters is a full-time “RVer.” Her husband has a work from home job. So as long as he has internet and phone service, he can work from anywhere. A little over a year ago, they bought a motor home, sold their house, and after some drastic downsizing, moved into the RV full time. They embraced minimalism and have been on the road traveling around the country since March. The two of them and their four-year-old son Malachi are having quite the adventure. If you are interested, you can follow them at www.fulltimehumans.com
At one of their recent stops in Idaho, they took Malachi to the playground of the place they were staying. He introduced himself to another child there by saying, “Hi. My name is Malachi. My Papa and Grandma love me.” My daughter told us he said it as a matter of fact, as though it was not unusual to share that information. I can tell you that hearing that melted the hearts of my wife and me. We are elated that he knows how much we love him, so much so that he has no trouble sharing that information with people he meets.
As my wife and I were discussing this, she mentioned that maybe that is how she should start introducing herself. “Hi, my name is Cheryl, and Jesus loves me.” I could say, “Hi, my name is Mike and Jesus loves me.” I wonder what kind of reactions that would elicit? I’m sure they would be mixed. But it would simply be a statement of fact, would it not? We should have that confidence and assurance in our daily living. We have God’s word on it.
What marvelous love the father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to. But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him — and in seeing him, become like him. 1 John 3:1-2 The Message (MSG)
I know those outside the fellowship of faith have all kinds of misunderstandings about what it means to be a child of God. Many times followers of Jesus have acted superior or judgmental towards non-believers, and this has left a bad taste in their mouths. “If that is what Christians are like, I want no part of it.” Others simply have the opinion that they are doing just fine without Jesus, so they see no need to follow a bunch of rules and regulations from what they consider to be make-believe.
Those misconceptions keep people from understanding that our faith is all about relationship. We have a relationship with the creator, who reached out to us in love. He came down among us, took on human flesh, lived a perfect life in our place and was then our substitute in punishment as well. His death has bought us forgiveness of all sin and guarantees us eternal life. No matter who we are. No matter what we have done. God loves us all, and wants us to take up his offer of forgiveness by having that faith relationship with him.
Perhaps the best way you and I can help others get to know Jesus is by letting them know we have that relationship with him, sharing his love with our words and actions. “Hi, my name is Mike, and Jesus loves me.”
Michael Mattil is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Denison. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.