Welcome again to this week's word for the week. Usually during this particular week I'm led to talk about the importance of giving God thanks at all times and not just for one day. This year and at this moment I'm led to go in another direction. When holidays come up it is easy to get caught up in the moment and festivities. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the moment so don't think that's where we're going. The real challenge is to still keep Christ at the forefront of your life while you celebrate the holidays. Let's go further here.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that is celebrated by those in the United States. It is not a worldwide holiday which means for some people in the world it is a normal day. What I'm getting ready to say is something to consider regardless of which holiday is being observed. At all times we need Christ in our lives. There is not a day that goes by that we can live without Him. We shouldn't want to live without Him. Regardless of the challenges we face in life, we should never want to walk away from our Creator!
Saying that is one thing. Doing it is another. Many people gather together with family during this holiday. Let's be honest here for a moment. All of our loved ones and relatives are not saved and they are not walking with the Lord. The fact that they're not saved does not mean we shouldn't be around them. They are still our loved ones and relatives and we must remember there was a time when we were just like them. Be careful who you judge when you are from the same background. All it takes is one thing to take you back to what you're judging so be careful.
The problem is not spending time with people who may not share your beliefs. The problem is when you let their unbelief shake you from your belief. You have to stay steady in Christ at all times. You have to know who you are and Who you belong to. You have to know for yourself that there's nobody greater than Jesus to you. It's okay to laugh with loved ones as long as you know where to draw the line. You don't have to go in a corner and sit there as if you don't know them. You will never draw anyone to God so that they may experience His glory if you act as if you're better than everyone else in the room. We are sinners saved by grace. Period.
You can have conversation without making them feel inferior to you. It's easy to talk about how they're not saved and are going to hell unless they receive salvation. The real question though is how sure are you for yourself on where you're going? It is not our place or assignment to condemn others. It's our charge to draw them with love and kindness. Do you want those loved ones to be saved? Then learn how to show them that walking with Christ is a joy and not a burden. You're a representative of Christ. Don't be a dark cloud everywhere you go when you should be a light and beacon of hope for others.
What's the point in all this for this week? The point is simple. Enjoy the moment and time with loved ones if that's in your plan. Just remember who you are. If they drink alcohol you don't have to. If they curse you already know that blessings and curses can't come out of the same fountain. Live by what got you to this point and don't walk away from the One who you still need to give you life both here and in the world to come. Keep God first in all you do. If you're cooking then pray before you do so. Keep your trust in God and not in your own skills and abilities. You need God now, the day of the holiday, and afterwards when you think about it. There's still a promise in store for you so don't get sidetracked and miss out on what God is doing. Enjoy your holiday but enjoy Jesus even more!
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you in His grace,
Bishop Carlos J. Lennon