THE CARPENTER'S SHOP: A High Five for Christ followers
There are five attributes that distinguish Christ followers. I call them The High 5.
Christ followers are known by these habits:
1. Routine study of the Scriptures and prayer. The heart of what Jesus taught and what he embodied is contained in the Scriptures. We read it to be aware of God’s acts in our world and to be wise. Prayer is our main connection to God and we encounter God through it.
2. Consistent worship with others. To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, and to devote the will to the purpose of God. (William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1942-1944)
3. Disciplined interchange with others in a group. Christianity is a shared experience. One cannot be a solo Christ follower or be a Christian incognito. Christianity is a culture of learning in community.
4. Generosity. The spirit of charity and kindness are Christian virtues. We are blessed in life so we can share blessing with others. We are not depositories for God’s gifts, but conduits to bless others.
5. Serving others with humility. There is no more beautiful expression of Christian virtue than humility in the service of others. It was Christmas Eve, 1910. General William Booth, the founder of The Salvation Army in London, England, was near the end of his life. His health was poor, and he was going to be unable to attend the Army’s annual convention. Booth had become an invalid, and his eyesight was failing him. No one knew that he would not live to see another Christmas. Somebody suggested that General Booth send a telegram or a message to be read at the opening of the convention as an encouragement to the many soldiers of the Salvation Army who would be in attendance following Christmas and their many hours of labor ministering to so many others through the holidays and the cold winter months. Booth agreed to do so. Knowing that funds were limited and desiring not to use any more money than necessary so that as much money as possible could be used to help the many people in need, General Booth decided to send a one word message. He searched his mind and reviewed his years of ministry, looking for the one word that would summarize his life, the mission of the Army and encourage the others to continue on.When the thousands of delegates met, the moderator announced that Booth would not be able to be present because of failing health and eyesight. Gloom and pessimism swept across the floor of the convention. Then, the moderator announced that Booth had sent a message to be read with the opening of the first session. He opened the telegram and read the one word message:Others!Signed, General Booth.
Years ago on a rainy night on the side of an Alabama highway an older African American woman was enduring a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read:
“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away ... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.” Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.
That’s the spirit of service and humility.
These five habits create a better world and better people. That’s High Life!
Dr. Barry Carpenter is pastor of Destin United Methodist Church and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.