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|Witnesses Unto Me||JUNE 7|
A REALISTIC FAITH IN A REAL WORLD
And they . . . did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:46, 47.
Not long ago I happened to be in the office of a travel agent discussing an overseas trip (that never materialized). The agent presented me one brochure after another with the most inviting descriptions of the countries I planned to visit. Her own animated comments whetted my appetite.
"I suppose you have been to all these places," I said.
"No," she replied honestly, "I have not." In a moment created by her candor I thought of the possibility of our operating as Christians on the same basis. It could be that one of the obstacles standing in the way of selling others on the faith we believe is what some people consider "not for real" religion. The world is a difficult place in which to live.
The distance from the Christian to troubled souls is reminiscent of the New Testament story of the prodigal son. Among the lonely and tragic lives of lost men, the Christian is asked to make his way in the world. Real Christian living teaches us not to build our silly castles in the air. There are too many needy people of all ages crying for help. Attending church each Sabbath and paying our tithes and offerings is only part of our religion. We cannot exactly call that the whole of our Christian experience. Enter into the lives of people and you will see for yourself.
The great things, the true things, the loving things, about our religion are the reaching into the lives of lonely and needy people. Whatever you do, don't call loving concern for people unreal or visionary.
I have always been impressed with the practical, down-to-earth Christianity of the early disciples after Pentecost. Nothing about their ministry or their witness drags or bores me. Against the most impossible odds, they increased and rejoiced. Ours is no other-worldly religion, the kind that is half miserable and gloomy today for the sake of "eating pie in the sky" sometime in the future. It is not a religion that withdraws itself to some isolated area of special privileges. Ours is an engaging world of people. We will not turn our backs on them.
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