In his wonderful little book, A Hobbit Devotional, which is fast becoming one of my absolute faves, Ed Strauss makes many fine points but one of the best comes in chapter 2. Once Gandalf tells Bilbo who he is, all Bilbo remembers is the fun and parties stories the wizard told. But then, “he stopped and asked warily if this was by chance the same Gandalf who, in years past, had talked impressionable young hobbits into ‘going off into the Blue for mad adventures’.” To which the obvious answer would be simply yes.
I know another rabble-rouser. You may too. Jesus. A brush with Him had a similar effect on almost everyone He met, and pretty soon He had developed a reputation for getting quiet respectable folk to do very strange things, often completely out of character. Take Zacheus, for example. He had a rep of his own, though not a good one. In his day, tax collectors could demand whatever percentage they chose to exact from the good citizens of the town, and Caesar turned a blind eye as long as he got his cut. That’s why tax collectors were so despised in Jesus’ day – they were crooks, kind of an ancient day mafia. One encounter with the Saviour changed his heart to the point he willingly offered to give money back to those he’d swindled. Don’t tell me that wasn’t a heart change! A con-artist giving back what he’d stolen? Doesn’t happen. At least, I for one have never seen such a radical conversion, but for the rabble-rousing rabbi it happened everywhere He went.
I heard a pastor say this week that if you want good relationships look to the One who made relationships. Simple, yet often forgotten. So how come 70% of second marriages end in divorce? Perhaps because we forgot to look to the One who started the whole thing. We live in a broken world, and the current culture isn’t likely to change any time soon unless we, as Christ followers, which is what the word “Christian” actually means, start doing it. Talking like, acting like, the One we say saved our lives. Just a thought.
Kari, the rabble-rouser-and-happy-to-be-one
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