The Strange Casket
If you just listen and don't obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance (James 1:23).
There is an interesting story I was told about concerning a small-town church and its new pastor. I do not know whether or not the story is true or just a parable, but consider its lesson. The author of this story is unknown.
A new pastor came to town and spent the first few long days calling on the inactive membership, one by one, family by family, begging them to come to his first service.
Sadly, however, all his effort was in vain. None of them showed up on Sunday morning.
On Monday morning, he placed a prominent notice in the local newspaper. The notice proclaimed that the church was dead and, because of that, it was his duty as a pastor to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral was announced to be held the following Sunday afternoon.
Morbidly curious, of course, the whole town turned out. Inside the church for everyone to clearly see as they entered the sanctuary, there was a large coffin, prominently placed high in front of the pulpit, smothered in flowers.
Everyone was seated, and anticipation was in the air. The service began. The pastor said an opening prayer, led in a quiet hymn, then solemnly read the church's obituary and delivered a touching and eloquent eulogy.
He then invited the congregation to step forward and pay their final respects to the dearly beloved who had departed.
Everyone got up from their seats and formed a line, which slowly filed by the casket. Each mourner peeped inside -- and then turned away in shock, with a guilty, sheepish look, some in tears. Their faces became ashen.
This is what they saw: Inside the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror.
Everyone saw himself!
Dear friends, this is a dramatic example that the church is us. We are the body of Christ. It is just as much you and me personally as it is the next person. Let us heed the Lord's exhortation, and "not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25 NIV).
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
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