The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest
The story is told of a man from the east coast who had always dreamed of owning a cattle ranch and had finally saved enough money to buy his dream spread in Wyoming. His best friend flew out to visit and asked, “So, what’s the name of your ranch?” His buddy told him that he and his wife had had a really hard time coming up with a name that they liked. Since he and his wife couldn’t agree on what to call the ranch they settled on this name, “The Double R Lazy L Triple Horseshoe Bar-7 Lucky Diamond Ranch.” His friend was really impressed and then asked, “So where are all the cows?” The new rancher replied, “We had quite a few…but only some of them survived the branding.”
Over the years many have struggled to survive the brand “Christian.” In his first letter to the Christians of his time he warned that it would not be easy to wear the name. “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”
Peter warns the Christians to wear the name well. He tells them it is important to not suffer for doing wrong or evil, because it does nothing for the name or the cause of Christ.
In America today, we are blessed that we do not suffer the same way Christians did in Peter’s time. However, Christianity is under constant criticism and attack because its teachings are counter to the culture in which we live. Recently, a well-known Christ based organization that helps people all over the world when crisis or catastrophe strikes went into New York City, spent millions of dollars and set up a temporary hospital in Central Park to assist with overflow of hospitals due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Samaritan’s Purse, a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelism Association came to the rescue. One of the city aldermen demanded that the organization be kicked out because, in the organization’s belief statement there is a statement that homosexuality is a sin. And, even though the organization would have treated homosexual patients with the same care as others, he branded them a “hate group” that needed to go. I always thought that was a strange way to demonstrate gratitude.
The world does not understand Christianity. A Christian loves his neighbor even if the neighbor is not a believe the same as he does. The Christian even loves those who may hate him/her.
If you follow Christ, you are going to be fine, but you may struggle with wearing the brand.
This week we will continue our series of messages from Peter’s letters titled Living Hope. The message this week is “Wear the Name Well” based on 1 Peter 4:12-19. Come join us as we finally open the doors for “in person services.” We will still be on Facebook Live if you prefer to keep more distance.
Wearing the brand with you,