“I’m a Christian.”
We often hear.
“I follow Christ.”
We hear, but much less often.
Why is that? The human psyche is a fascinating thing. I do not pretend to know where the mind is headed on each given day. We often say something, and then think to ourselves later, “Why did I say that?” I think we mean what we say, when we say it. Originally, off the top. It’s raw. It’s unfiltered. Emotion has its place in everything we say and do, whether we admit it or not. Somewhere in the middle of logic and emotion we get a decision. Our decision. It’s in what we say, how we answer questions, and how we make a statement. It’s easy to say, “Yeah, I’m a Christian.” Many people say it, every day. Some mean it, some don’t. However, if a person says “I follow Christ” or “I’m a Christ follower” there is no need to quantify the weight it holds. It can’t be broken down with statistics, or with quantitative evidence. In meaning, both statements have similar understandings. But it can’t be denied that it sounds different. That’s because it is different.
To follow Christ is as bold an undertaking now as it was when missionaries went to the Far East during the Dark Ages to preach the gospel. Perhaps not as dangerous as that. Not perhaps, definitely not as dangerous; but as difficult. To follow Christ assumes that one wants to live like Christ. And to live like Christ is to be like Him and embody what he came to do: redeem through love. Jesus gave his life, the ultimate show of love. Jesus taught us how to love people beyond our small circle. To love quickly and broadly with unequivocal vigor. This is how we are different. This is how we Christians must be followers of Christ.
To follow is to give love. If Christ could give His life for all of man, the least we can do is give back to our fellow man.
An example of giving that I have never been able to forget since the first time I read about it is in regards to none other than Akon. You mean like Akon the singer/rapper? Yes, Akon the singer/rapper. He, along with a few other partners, have developed an initiative to provide millions of households in Africa with electricity via solar energy. These places had never had electricity until now. Let’s think about this. If one man can do all that, imagine what large groups could do. Imagine if our governments weren’t as good at misappropriating funds as Steph Curry is at hitting free throws, and instead gave to those in need. Or even on a smaller scale; if everyone just did their part.
For Akon giving seems to be natural, but giving for others is often a topic of good intentions. What do I mean by that? You know what I mean. It’s one of those things that we all talk about. We write it on our wall on social media and proclaim it as a new year’s resolution. We drive down the highway with our friend in the front seat and discuss plans for a new initiative to really help the community, not all talk like these politicians. But when it comes down to it, we often don’t give. It may be because you don’t get around to it. Or don’t know where to start, and nothing will ever be enough so why bother now. But the good news is, giving comes in many forms. Money, resources, time, energy and emotion, and the list goes on. Why not give in a manner where you can show the most passion? If you don’t have the means to fill an offering plate but have the time available and the know how to tutor a kid struggling with algebra, how is that any less worthy? Do not let the measure of your material giving become a hindrance to your heavenly possessions. And not for the sake of getting something out of it. Nobody can earn God’s favor by acts of good, nor should they try. Let His will be done. But we should give because it’s what Jesus would do. Simple as that.
Andrew R. Lovelace has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Bluffton University. He has an MBA from Wright State University with a focus in Marketing. He is an educator, coach, financial advisor and musician. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter and IG @drulove3