This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
He nervously paced the floor as the preacher preached. My wife Judy and I were recently visiting family in South Georgia. We were at her brother’s house…patiently waiting as his wife prepared us some good southern cooking…chicken and rice, green beans, and a hearty salad…with peach cobbler and ice cream for dessert. Thinking about it…maybe we weren’t so patient after all. Anyway, one thing led to another and so her brother, who happens to be a preacher, began to share a story. Many years ago, he had decided that God was calling him into the ministry and at that time he was filling in wherever he could. He was still learning and practicing.
Well, his Daddy was the assistant warden at the local work camp…a sort of low security prison…and he suggested that he might find a captive audience there…pun fully intended. So, her brother began to preach there at the jail. They would lead him into the dining hall, bring in the prisoners and then…they would lock the doors. He would begin to tell them about God’s love for broken people…just like them…just like us. And, while he was preaching, this old man would walk the floor, slowly pacing, and in his own way engage with the preacher. It was a grunt here and moan there, but it was obvious he was tracking where the preacher was going.
One time, at the end of the sermon, he came up to Judy’s brother and asked him if he could tell him about a sermon he had. He told Judy’s preacher brother that his sermon asked three questions. “First,” he said, “Do you have religion?” Now the question wasn’t about what church you attended but rather did you know God personally. You see that is the whole point of Jesus…that if you are willing to believe what Jesus said and believe in what He did…you can be a part of God’s family. That was first because it is most important. So, do you have religion—that kind of religion?
The old man spoke again and said, “There is another question.” He wanted to know if you had religion, was it the “catching kind?” The old man was wise enough to know that religion that ain’t worth catching, ain’t worth having. The truth is too often the reason people aren’t interested in what we are “selling” is because it doesn’t seem to be working for us. And, if it isn’t working for us, why would it work for them? Now, that’s a good question. So, if you are the religious sort, is your religion worth catching?
Finally, the old man said, “Now the third question is this. If you have religion, and if it is the catching kind…if anyone catching it?” See, he knew that real religion, the kind that Jesus brings…brings change. The Bible says that if anyone believes in Jesus, they become a new creation…the old life passes away and the new comes. We have a couple of fellas in our church that met Jesus while they were serving time in prison, and they will gladly tell you that they came out different than they went in. That kind of religion is worth sharing. That kind of religion is worth catching.
Well, with that the old man turned away and Judy’s brother went his own way too. But do you know what? He never forgot that old man’s sermon. In fact, he preached it a time or two and now here I am writing about it. The old man didn’t have much education and I’m not sure he ever made it out of prison. But right there where he was, he was making a difference. You know, God created us to make a difference and those three questions can help us determine if we are. You can tweak those questions to read like this. First, do you have something you are passionate about? Second, is it a passion worth sharing with those around you? Third, is anyone catching your passion, your dream, your vision?
For me the greatest passion of life is knowing God personally and trust me…it is a passion worth sharing and certainly worth catching. Now remember, I’m not talking about religion in the plain old sense or church in the ordinary sense. I am talking about experiencing the life changing power of the grace and forgiveness of God. If you haven’t caught it yet…well, trust me it is worth catching. God loves people…all people regardless of skin color, economic status or how long or short their sin list might be. Your sin can’t out grace God’s grace. You need to know this. He wants to know you personally and wants you to personally know Him. And, no matter what you have done, rest assured, He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne