The Hallmark of a Christian Ain’t What You Think

A happy boy in Moon Lake! Life is good for father and son! Photo by DB

    A happy boy in Moon Lake! Life is good for father and son! Photo by DB

By Pontificus Minimus
(Clarksdale, Mississippi)

What say ye Pontificus? The hallmark of a Christian? Elaborate kind sir!

Well, Pontificus had a professor in Bible College who repeatedly said the hallmark of a Christian should be THANKFULNESS! Most folks think the hallmark should be that we are saved by grace, that we stand on the promises of God, that we are holy in an unholy world–all of these good things, but they have become “seemingly” trite in their expression and overuse by Christians in conversation with non-Christians.

Bottom line, there is a world of folks the world over hurting, unhappy, miserable, abused, lonely, bitter for reason, unloved by most, alienated and on the margins of society.

Pontificus just read about 17,000 farmers in India having committed suicide this past year alone. This is a 7% increase over last year, leaving the number for the previous year around 16,000. Ponder on the angst leading up to the fatal act. Pontificus found hisself (yes he knows hisself ain’t a word, but he likes the Delta vernacular) bitching yesterday about his sheets on his king-size bed being catawampus–absolutely shameful.

His bride, Magical Madge, who loves to take a hot bath when she returns in the evening from making folks the world over feel valued at the restaurant, says she sincerely thanks God for a hot bath every night, as she is aware how many folks do not get to experience that blessing often, if ever.

Pontificus used to ask his students to journal their response to the following question: “Would you rather have a million dollars or happiness?” Almost always the students would write about rather having a million dollars and the things they would accumulate with the money.

He would point out when the Socratic discussions began around the journal entries that all the things the students were going to buy with the large sum of money were intended to bring them happiness. So, why not just be happy with happiness and forego the soul-diminishing elements of spending large sums of money on oneself.

The Apostle Paul said he was content in whatever state he found himself, whether abounding or doing without. Too often church folks–Pontificus included–fight about which side of the property the parking lot should be on and whether so-and-so should have done what he or she did, and whether sister or brother so-and-so should be allowed to do something even menial service-wise in the church because they engaged in some act deemed inappropriate by the few “church bosses” who run everything. Tsk-Tsk!

It seems the more I have the more I tend to gripe. Too often it takes a cataclysmic event to make me appreciate the abounding Grace, goodness, and favor that I have been extended by the Almighty and his creation–those who believe in Him and those who don’t.

I am so blessed to have what I have and to be fortunate enough to not only have enough, but also to have plenty. I am able to worship freely in this country and I go to sleep on a comfortable bed every night with a wonderful wife who loves me and I fall asleep with the knowledge that my children are safe, well cared for, and safely in the arms of the Almighty.

I daily pray that God will help me to see and meet needs around me. I pray that he will help me be “his hands extended,” but how often do I really mean it? How often do I allow myself to be vulnerable enough and sacrificial enough to actually meet other’s needs if it costs me more than a few minutes of my time? Not often enough!

The world is full of good folks and not-so-good folks–Christian and non-Christian alike! “Lord, help me to be mindful of the needs of others and help me to give of myself so that others may enjoy life and experience happiness. Lord, help me to be thankful for what you have given me! Help me to manifest in my daily life the hallmark of a Christian–thankfulness! Amen!”

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  1. Loved the article! I’ve heard it said that many of us Christians don’t want to “get our hands dirty” so we avoid helping others. It makes me really have to look hard at myself. Those farmers in India are eye-opening, and what about people in despair right next door to me? Will I just “stand on the promises” or will I reach out to them? What about that famous Delta hospitality?

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