The Essence of Christianity

Written by Jim Dille

Question:  What do you think the essence of Christianity really is?

     There is a man in our congregation of late who displays the essence of Christianity in its purest form.  I am sorry to say that I don’t even know his name.  We often refer to him as the “how you?” man because of his sincere greeting to all.  I don’t think this man is aware of his race, his level of richness, or his level of intellect.  One thing he is aware of is his love for God and all men & women which come in his path.  Not only has his sincere greeting warmed my heart and made my eyes misty, but also when he has to leave early because of his ride.  When he leaves he tells the pastor bye with a wave then gives us all a wave with a smile as he walks down the aisle.  When we Ushers pass the collection plate he will rise and dig into his pocket until he comes up with whatever coins he has, then deposit them without considering any shame or pride in the amount.  Something about this pure Christian man fills my heart as he feels no embarrassment when he blesses all of us fumbling Christians in a bold manner.  This sweet man is unaware of his goodness and how it opens up hearts in ways the most eloquent speaker could not open. I sense something pure in this humble man, something that makes me want to jump up and shout “GLORY TO GOD!!”  But I don’t, I just sit there afraid to express my love in such a bold way.  I wonder if we fail to understand that if Jesus were to bless us with his presence in a visible form, would he not do it in this very manner?  He has done it, this wonderful man in our presence each Sunday is the essence of Jesus in our midst. We all should be shouting with Joy!  

     Jesus is with each of us every day, every second.  He is shouting above our heads as we blunder through our lives not paying attention.  We pass Jesus in some manner each day without notice from most of us who profess to love him.  We just pass him by because we have things to attend to.  We expect him to come with a roar of thunder and bright flashing lights.  That would not be his way, he would just appear among us in different forms waiting for us to offer love.  I don’t think Jesus is returning, I think he never left.  He has remained in our presence in so many forms of a humble nature we are too proud to kneel to.  

     I often think of a poor old man who was the janitor of our little church when I grew up.  Ole Charley was a very quiet and unassuming gentleman who usually had coal dust on his face.  He took care of many mundane tasks in our community without notice by most.  I remember one evening when our pastor asked for testimonies from the congregation.  The usual suspects all stood and went on and on about their relationship with Christ, when Charley stood quietly in the back row.  Finally the preacher said, “Charley do you have something to say?”  Charley stood and in a totally unpretentious quite voice told about his thankfulness for all God had blessed him with.  His simple eloquence made all of us feel the presence of Jesus in our midst.  His was the last testimony that evening.

     I believe we should begin each day with a few minutes recognizing Jesus’s presence.  Feel the love he offers and take that love with us the remainder of the day.  Life is so much fuller when you can see Jesus in everyone, even in the humblest of our brethren.  

     If we continually see Jesus throughout each day we will become more like him.  We will become the Essence of Christ.

1 John 4:16-17

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him.

     God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.  And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.  So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we are like Christ here in this world.    

Luke 8 18

    “So be sure to pay attention to what you hear.  To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given.  But to those who are not listening, even what they think they have will be taken away from them.” 

  • Do you think you have failed to see Jesus at times?
  • If Jesus were to visit your church in a physical form how would you expect him to appear? 
  • Are we failing to see Jesus when we fail to help the poorest of the poor?
  • If an unclean old man came into your church would you wish he would leave?
  • If you have nothing but love are you not richer that the one that has nothing but money?
  • Do you give as much as you can to your church and charity?

 

“The law holds man in bondage; Love makes him free.”

Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity.