12/25/12 David about 25
Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the greatest force for good the world has ever known. What would the world be like had he not come and set the perfect example of a life well lived and sacrificed for the sake of others? Even though followers of Jesus are relatively few in number, his influence goes far beyond His Church, impacting whole nations and cultures for good, setting the standard by which all else is compared. He is both precious to believers and a standard to unbelievers, as Peter wrote, “Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”” (1 Peter 2:7) I spoke with one such person at a bus stop today – David - who had grown up in a Baptist family but has rejected the very idea of God’s existence. He said he is much happier since rejecting Christianity in favor of atheism. Belief in God would require evidence, and he believes science will one day be able to answer all the questions about our existence, though probably not in his lifetime. “What do you live for?” I asked. His only answer – “Curiosity”. He enjoys learning new things. “What keeps you from totally harming everyone around you in pursuit of your own selfish desires, since you are accountable to no one?” “I’m afraid of getting caught” he admitted. So what influence does Jesus still have on a guy like this? Well, who else in all of history better sets the example of what it means to be good than Jesus? We only know what is crooked by comparing it to what is straight. I believe Jesus’ goodness helps keep a guy like David –and humanity – from sliding into self-destructive depravity because He is the cornerstone by which we can be measured. As believers, of course we are thankful for our salvation gained at the cross, but I’m also thankful for the civilized and ordered society made possible by Jesus’ life, a life admired by unbelieving but God-fearing people, a life that has had such an impact on society that it makes it possible for a believer like me to talk about Jesus on a streetcorner to an atheist, and a society that gives an atheist like David enough accountability and freedom to have a chance at eventually coming to belief in God and repentance and faith in Jesus. God isn’t through with David, and He isn’t through with any of us. That’s the hope of Christmas.