Page 266 has been a quiet Saturday as I used the day to catch up on some rest. Starting my workdays early so I have more evening time with my family results in “sleeping in” taking on a different meaning than it used to. At this time of year, if the sun is already up when I wake up then I’ve slept in. Anyhow, the sun was up when I made my morning coffee and settled in to spend some time with God. Eventually my prayer time included the writing of yesterday’s page as I didn’t get it written last night.
Throughout the morning I would check on Susan, who has perfected the task of sleeping in. She was finally ready to get up around noon, so while she got dressed I fired up the pellet grill to get our Saturday bacon cheeseburgers started for lunch. After lunch I spent some time going through photos from Thursday’s afternoon trip to Ludington. Eventually it was time for a nap to continue the theme of rest for the day. As evening rolled around I had no new photos for the day, so I headed outside to see what I could find that wanted photographed. Tonight it was the roses. As I thought about the old line, “A rose by any other name would be just as sweet”, I began to consider what makes a rose so desirable. While we identify this flower by a particular name, it is not the name that has been the cause of attraction by people to the rose. No, it is the qualities that exist in the flower that make people want to grow them, enjoy them, give them, and receive them. It could have been called a thistle and if it possessed the same qualities, people would line up to admire them and give them to the people they love. The opposite is true, I could call a dandelion a rose all I want but, other than a handful of school-aged children and their moms, they still won’t elicit the same response as a real rose.
As my mind thought about the flowers, it turned to the early followers of Jesus who were eventually called Christians — not because wearing the name all of a sudden made them a certain way, but because the people around them saw Christ in them. It is far too easy today for any of us to slap on the name Christian to ourselves, to events, even to products and services without any concern about whether they represent Christ accurately or not. There are a lot of problems with doing that, but one of the biggest is that it really doesn’t work. Just as putting the name rose on a weed doesn’t fool anyone with knowledge and confuses those without understanding, putting the label of Christian on anything that isn’t Christ-like will never fool those who know better and only confuse those who don’t. Just as a rose is made a rose by the characteristics that hold true to what it is, a Christian must be known by the characteristics that hold true to the name of Christ. A true Christian by any other name — employee, boss, dad, mom, child, parent, coworker, stranger, neighbor, etc — will still look like a Christian regardless of the name.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- The changes we make in life often influence what we do in other parts of our life that weren’t a part of the original change.
- Routines of life need to be flexible so that they don’t break us.
- Rest can look different to each of us but it is important that we find what is restful to us as individuals and incorporate it into our lives.
- It is the qualities of a rose, more than its name, that make it attractive to people.
- It is the qualities of a Christian, more than our name, that ought to make Christ attractive to the world.
- How well do you represent the name you wear? Would the people around you agree? Would God agree?
- If you are following Christ, you ought to add beauty to the world no matter what anyone may call you.