18 Also day by day, from the first day until the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. Nehemiah 8:18 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
This is my 25th year to work in the field of public education. When I’m at school, I don’t go around preaching all the time, but if somebody asks me a religious question, I try to be courteous enough to answer it. The only problem is that people often ask me very complicated questions “between the bells” that mark the ending of a school period.
So, over the years, I’ve developed a set of very short, concise answers to complex theological questions. It’s as good an answer as I can pack into three-and-a-half minutes. Clearly, I’d do a lot better if I had more time, but, hey, you do the best you can when you’re “in a pinch.”
One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “How can I know if my life is right with God?” The outline of my very short answer is (number 1) “Have you done the things the Bible tells you to do?” and (number 2) “Are you bearing the Fruit of the Spirit?”
Another popular question I’m asked between the bells is, “You are a Christian Church preacher. How is your view of faith different than mine?” For this question I reference the subject of mathematics. I say something like, “I’m sure you’ve studied geometry. In geometry, there are ‘points’ and there are ‘rays.” Many people view their faith as a ‘point.” They believed on the Lord Jesus one time and raised their hand in a church. For some folks, that’s the extent of their faith journey.
But for me, I understand my faith as a “ray.” My faith in the Lord began at a ‘point” when I first believed on Him, but (like a ray) it continues on in a straight line forever. You see, true faith is something we nurture every day — and it lasts for this whole lifetime and for all eternity.” Most people I talk to like my answer.
However, because it’s a such a short answer, it’s not entirely correct. If I have more time, I explain myself more fully. I believe that faith is like a ray. But in geometry, a ray begins at one point and continues on in a straight line forever. Our faith isn’t quite like the ray in the geometry book, though. Faith begins at a point. It continues on in one direction (towards God) forever.
However, the faith that we have doesn’t always move in a straight line. The line of our faith is fraught with twists and turns and scribbles and detours. So, because of that fact, don’t become discouraged with your progress or with the spiritual growth you see in your children. Something I’ve learned in almost 3 decades of ministry is this: Jesus is leading to Heaven all those who put their trust in Him. But nobody goes to Heaven in a straight line.
That’s all I’ve got time to tell you this morning. Gotta run. It’s time for the bell….
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 28 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, and until recently taught Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Preacher and his wife and kids have had a good week.) Their kids include Spencer (age 22), his wife Madeline (age 22), and Seth (age 19).