Devotion in Motion: Reverse engineering what Christianity means

 15 “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

                                                                                     John 13:15 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash

As I used to tell my congregation (when the story was a bit long and convoluted but was leading to a point): “Bear with me. We’re heading somewhere today.”

So, just follow along. Before you know it, you’ll see where I’m going:

It started a dozen years ago. I had a blockage in an artery to my heart, and the cardiologist inserted two stents. That opened everything up, and my heart has been doing fine since then. I had another heart cath not too long ago, and the doctor was thrilled to tell me I had no blockages anywhere. The Lord is good.

But, back in day, when I had my stents put in, the doctor said I would have to take a blood-thinner-tablet every day for two years. It was a new drug, and the co-pay was going to be nearly $300 a month (in 2008 dollars). I didn’t want to die. But I didn’t want to file bankruptcy either. So, I was hoping to find an alternative before my doctor-supplied-samples ran out. And, I found one.

In a copy of Business Week magazine, I read about two men who had gone to university in Oxford, England. One was a pharmacist in Washington, and the other was a pharmacist in India. Here’s the plan they set up. Americans could send their doctor-prescriptions to the pharmacist in Spokane. He would send the prescription to the pharmacist in India, who would ship the medication to the United States. The best thing of all was that my medication would only cost $75 — for a 12 month supply.

As soon as they arrived, I took my pills to my physician so he could check them out. (He used to live in another country and was familiar with medicines from this supplier.) He assured me they were the real deal.

I asked him how they could sell the tablets so inexpensively. He showed me the back of the of the packet of pills. In India, the price is set by the government, and it’s a crime to sell them for more than the government puts on the package. In the United States, it’s the opposite. The drug companies charge as much as they can get people to pay.

I asked the doctor how the scientists in India knew the formula for the medicine. He said they have very smart chemists. They take a sample of the American medicine. Then they reverse engineer it. That means they start with the finished product and work backwards to where it came from—what the source was, if you will.

Now, that got me thinking about a spiritual lesson. What if there were a person (maybe from another planet) who knew nothing about the Lord Jesus. (Let’s call him “Pete.”) What if Pete decided he wanted to know what the Saviour was like (without reading the Bible or talking to anybody.)

Instead, Pete would reverse engineer Christians. He would watch what we do, listen to what we say, and read what we post on social media. And afterwards, Pete would say, “Well, now I know what Jesus is like.” I wonder how much his conclusion would resemble the Christ of the Gospels?

Years ago, I heard a preacher say, “Your life is the only Bible most people ever read.”  This week, let’s strive to set a worthy example…for the love of Pete.

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 34 ½ years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s currently on a sabbatical from the preaching ministry, and is an English teacher at the Choctaw Tribal School. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where the Preacher and his wife are missing being able to fellowship with other Christians in person during this quarantine.) You can send him a note at