May 7, 2019

Becky is one of our volunteer receptionists that I call The Babysitters. And while she is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, she has one humongous flaw. Whenever she answers the phone, she always says, “Hello, this is the First Baptist Church of Temple. May I help you?”

It got so bad that Pastor Brian put a sign next to the phone to remind Becky that she’s answering the phone for the Methodist church. I am confident that after three or four more years of answering the phone, Becky will get it straight.

Not that being a Baptist is a bad thing. I know a lot of Baptists. Most of them are Christians. Just like I know a lot of Methodists. Most of them are Christians too.

In fact, I am not at all sure that God is as worried about denominational differences as we are.

While we may argue over what constitutes a “real” baptism, who is eligible to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, ministerial credentialing, female pastors, wine versus grape juice, membership vows, human sexuality, traditional versus contemporary music, clerical robes, and liturgical colors, I’m pretty sure none of that will matter when we get to heaven.

In a very clear and concise way, Jesus tells us what it means to be a Christian: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)

What defines a Christian is belief. Now along with that comes a whole lot of other stuff but it starts with believing Jesus is the only way to eternal life. If you believe that, then you are a Christian.

So never look at another denomination as somehow superior or inferior. Everyone who truly believes is saved. God loves all of us the exact same.

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, help me to live my life as a true reflection of my belief in your love and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Just for the record, Becky was yesterday’s babysitter. Pastor Brian was off so Becky made her own sign and set it next to the phone reminding her that this is the Methodist church. I’m very proud of her.

Also, in order to be a true Christian, you need to be a member of FUMC Temple. While I can’t remember exactly where it says that in the bible, I’m pretty sure it’s in there somewhere.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins