Lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. — Colossians 1:10 (NRSV)
We used our church parking lot for a drive-in movie last October. On the day of the movie as I was scurrying around to get everything ready, I noticed an unfamiliar truck parked in the lot. There are some community members who pay a small fee to park in the lot during the week, but I knew that the owner of this truck wasn’t one of them. As I walked up to the truck to check the license plate number, I noticed a snake decal in the back window: “Don’t Tread on Me.” I couldn’t help but see the irony in this person not wanting others to trespass on their freedoms, and yet they were trespassing on our lot. “I guess actions don’t always follow a person’s label,” I muttered to myself as I tried to figure out what to do with the truck.
Not long after that, I got an email from the library letting me know that a book I checked out had been renewed. In the email, I saw that I’m now listed in the library database as “CHRISTIAN ST COON.” I don’t know how it happened, but I like to believe that the library has deemed me worthy of sainthood so I get a chuckle every time I get a renewal email. But I also wonder: even if I jokingly claim this “sainthood,” do my actions match this label?
America is currently facing a great deal of division. I, along with many others, am ready to speak up for issues that align with my beliefs. But I also have to be pretty diligent in asking myself, do my actions correlate with how I present myself to the world—my “label?” Am I, as Colossians 1 asks, leading a life worthy of the Lord and bearing fruit in every good work? Some days are better than others.
Whatever label we give ourselves—partner to parent, Christian to spiritual—I hope that we do what we can, with God’s guidance, to lovingly live into that label. We won’t always get it right. We may trespass even though we don’t want to be trespassed upon, and we will not always be so saintly. But we should live lives worthy of the Lord and lovingly live into that label.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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