Pastor said something in church on Sunday that I'd often thought of and had never been able to articulate. He said:
"The way we live, act, and treat each other either causes others to make much of God or make fun of God."
Lord, I pray I'm a 'make much of' person.
In my mind, it has always looked like this: I pray that I can have real relationship with people who aren't Christians (Buddhists, Muslim, atheist... whomever) and earn their respect in regards to my faith. In other words, to put it bluntly, I hope they see me, know what I stand for, and because I walk out my faith in a strong, yet non-judgmental, kind of way, they respect my faith and can't make fun of it. I'm not saying they will soon - or ever, for that matter - agree with my faith, but they can see how real it is in my life.
In a small way in my world - that's making much of God.
I've mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again. I was voted 'most likely to change after high school' for my senior year 'class favorites.' A short bit of background (and I mean really short), I'd professed being a Christian since Freshman year (when I did, indeed, become one), but my massive over the top shift, happened after Junior year. Senior year I was talked about and made fun of. A lot.
Looking back, I don't blame anyone. You know why? Because the way I had been living before, and the way I had started living, caused people to make fun of God. I had to prove myself real. And the voting for senior class favorites was proof of that.
Did I mention I was devastated and humiliated at that vote? I was. (I say that ashamedly now.) I don't know if I was more embarrassed because of who I had set myself out to be, or because they still didn't believe I was real.
I'd say now - most people who voted me most likely to change would either say I haven't changed, or if so, hopefully I've changed in deepening of my faith and in being more gracious because of it. Less judgmental. More forgiving. Easier to love. All in all: that my life would cause others to 'make much of' (even if it's just a silent respect of my faith) rather than make fun of.
I pray I have friends like that. Friends that, despite our faith (or lack thereof), we can get along, tarry together, and I can earn that respect from them - not because I feel I deserve it, but because my faith is so real to me that it can't be made fun of.
Maybe I'm rambling. Maybe not. But I hope that, though I'll never be perfect, my life would be an overflow of joy and grace to others as God has given to me. May my life make much of and not make fun of the Lord whom I love.