So What Now?
Yesterday, almost 2000 years ago it truly seemed finished, it was over. Everything that the disciples had believed in and worked for had ended. They were silent. There just wasn’t much else to say and without their leader, there seemed to be nothing to do. What ifs seemed senseless, they were at the bottom of the emotional pit and did not know which way they should turn, so they did nothing. The silence must have seemed deafening. Their dream seemed finished on Friday and Saturday reveals theÂ full reality of the entire horror. They knew they had to move on and were not sure how, but even worse, they didn’t understand why any of this had occurred. They probably sat in silence thinking, so what now?
Fast forward though to Sunday and things change dramatically, it is now centuries later, and we still feel the joy. If we stop and put ourselves in the disciple’s place we can feel the adrenaline rush through our veins, as we connect to the emotions of what they must have felt. Yesterday, their dream seemedÂ finished but today it begins with hope. At first, it seemed to be just a rumor, a crazy thought, surely the women were mistaken. We have all felt that kind of timid hope, the hope where dreams appear to be finished, dead, and abandoned but deep down there might be lurking, a maybe. You want it to be so badly but are afraid of plummeting down to the pit again, so you doubt. You insist you must see for yourself, you must have proof. Can you feel the excitement rush through your veins thinking about how Christ’s followers must have felt, when they realized it was true? He was not finished, the dream was not finished, He was alive! Christ had risen from the dead!
Today, we celebrate as the followers of Christ did almost 2000 years ago. It is Easter and although yesterday the story seemed finished, it was just the beginning. Martin Luther said, ”Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time.” The resurrection is all around us, as we seen new life surfacing every day, as nature revives itself. The dead of winter gives forth to the glories of spring and shows us each year that it is not finished either. Nature did not abandon itself to winter and neither should we abandon ourselves to life without the hope of Christ.
Pope John Paul II said, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair: We are the Easter people, and Hallelujah is our song.”
So today, all Easter people unite and sing loudly because we have been given the greatest gift of all. It is not finished, it has just begun. We didn’t just get a little part of joy we were given the whole pie. We should be skipping to the beat and full of joy just like the story of the little boy who instead of getting one simple flower received the whole bouquet.
A minister wore a carnation on his lapel every Sunday morning. He never gave it much thought until one day after church; a visiting boy about ten years old asked if he could have it. The minister handed it to him and asked him why he wanted it. The boy said that his parents divorced the year before and he went to live with his mother, but when she remarried; her new husband didn’t want him around, so they sent him to live with his father. Within a month, his dad said he was too busy to raise him and sent him to his grandmother to live.
His grandmother takes care of him, feeds him, and buys him clothes. The boy said that is why he wanted the flower. He wanted to give it to his grandmother for loving him.
The minister could barely keep the tears back, but told the boy that he didn’t want the carnation. He said that for a reason as special as the boy’s, he needed a bouquet. He told the boy to go up front and get the big bunch of flowers in front of the pulpit and give them to his grandmother.
As the boy smiled and turned to go get them, the minister heard him say, ”What a wonderful day, I asked for one flower and I got a whole bouquet!”
Today, we too, received the whole bouquet! He has risen and it is not finished. So what now, do we do? This week’s focus verse addresses just that, what we do now. Jesus’s death did not end life but began life and because we have accepted eternal life, we are not to sit around waiting for our life to end or Him to return. We are instead to get moving, each and every day with our actions and words pointing and reflecting them back to Christ. It is our position as believers, as Easter people, to share our hallelujah with everyone who crosses our path. Our light should shine brightly for all to see and we must share that light with others. It is not suggested, that we do this, but commanded.Â Isn’t it the least that we can do, considering that because He lives our life is not finished? Because He lives; now, so do we.
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19 (NLT)
It is Not Finished, so Go, and Make a huge Difference!
The good news of grace deserves to be more than just received; we must pass it on. Christ commands us to reach out to others and teach them what we have learned. The command tells us to make disciples of others, teaching them, it is not finished and there is a life in eternity that they can be part of through the belief of Christ.
The word, disciple, means someone who embraces and assists in the spreading of a teaching. The expectations of us, as believers, as Easter people, are to help in the spreading and teaching of Christ. We are to carry on because it isn’t finished, the work is not done.
So how should you do this? You are not required to build a soapbox and find a street corner. Â You are not required to sell all your possessions and travel to a third-world country. However, because it is not finished and you have a job to do, you may have to sacrifice your comfort zones so you are willing to depend more on God.
There are many levels to discipleship. Some are easy and some require more effort and sacrifice. Â But there are three simple ways that should be practiced every day to everyone you make contact with to make a big difference and reflect the light of Christ, showing them that life is not finished if Christ is leading the way.
- Smile ”“ It may seem silly and sound ultra-simple but just smiling at everyone makes a huge difference in people’s lives. Try it ”“ when running errands, at work, on the street, or elsewhere, purposely and genuinely smile at people. Genuine smiles will receive genuine reactions of joy that may just surprise you. There is an effort on your part because you might not feel like smiling, but do it anyway. I have found that it often makes my day go better too and certainly takes the focus off of my problems. So just smile, it will make a huge difference.
- Be friendly ”“ Now that you have practiced smiling at people add some conversation to the mix, being friendly. Wishing the clerk at the gas station a good day, telling the bag-boy thank you, and holding the door for someone, will show others you stand for something more than yourself. When you find yourself purposely going a bit farther with your friendliness, you will see the light you give off reflected back to you, making a great difference in lives all around you.
- Help someone else ”“ Once you have your smiling and friendly banter purposely in place, it is time to stretch a little more and help others. This is where the sacrifice begins to really come into play. Helping others can come in many ways; from time, work, and even financial means but it should be purposeful. One of the most valuable things we have to offer others it seems is our time. There are many opportunities to help others around us; from our own homes, immediate neighbors, community projects focused on helping others, or a mission trip abroad. Make a marked difference in someone’s life by giving them your time and energy, reflecting Christ as you go.
These everyday suggestions are just the beginning, perhaps you are already beyond that, if so you must continue to stretch your reach, telling others about Christ. They see it from your actions; it is now time to put it forth, with the words of Christ. You want them to be thirsty for the living waters of Christ and the only way to do that is to shine your light brightly on them.
There was a story published many years ago in Preaching,Â which illustrates this well.
AÂ disappointedÂ young salesÂ clerk complainedÂ about losing a big sale, and as he talked with his sales manager he said, ”I guess it just proves you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”
The manager replied, ”Son, take my advice; your job is not to make him drink. Your job is to make him thirsty.” So it is with telling others about Christ, our lives should be so filled with Jesus that it creates a thirst for the Gospel for everyone we are around.
There are many ways to make a huge difference in someone’s life. Make the biggest difference of all, by making sure everyone around you knows that it is not finished, by introducing them to Christ through your actions and then your words.
Love in Christ,
Â Post Script
Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like Himself before He takes us to heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility and our ultimate destiny. Â –
What are Your Thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Have you experienced the great silence of despair felt by the Saturday’s in your life, because you thought it was finished? Have you experienced the joy of Sunday that was found through the resurrection of Christ? Do you purposefully make a marked difference in other’s lives every day? Have you ever found yourself challenged to make someone’s day better? Join us in discussion on the topic of discipleship; showing others that life is not finished because we have Christ.