Christians must be some of the most annoying people you can ever meet.
They won’t stop talking to you about Jesus, inviting you to go to church with them, uttering irrelevant phrases like “Praise the Lord!” at the slightest hint of good news, pausing a perfectly good dinner conversation to say grace over their food, and remaining irritatingly positive and hopeful even when things are hopelessly dire.
They smile innocuously at you after you storm into the room cursing and swearing at the bad start to the day that you’ve had, and instead of joining in your complaints of the world at large they offer you some snacks, an encouraging note or an unexpected gift. For no reason at all.
They take up jobs that no one wants to take, and do them with such a joyful attitude that just spoils the market for everyone else. And worse, they get rewarded and promoted for it.
And did I mention how they keep talking to you about Jesus? It’s like, even the pushiest door-to-door salesman has better sense, and can get it that I’m just. Not. Interested.
Yup, those were my thoughts too. Until I became a Christian. And grew to be like one of them.
Suddenly I saw – it wasn’t, isn’t, like any other religion. It wasn’t about swapping one for another, obeying a list of “dos” and “don’ts”, adopting a moral code of practice, or learning a set of rituals. It wasn’t getting a nice cool name to put down under “Religion” on forms.
In fact, I found out Christianity isn’t a religion at all. Rather, it’s simply getting to know a God who loves you, and letting Him love you. It’s entering into a love relationship that never ends, that only grows deeper and gives more and more. It’s learning to rest and receive more and more, and doing and working less and less.
Before I became a Christian, I thought Christianity was serving and living for a God named Jesus. After I became a Christian, I realised that Christianity is actually allowing God, Who is called Jesus, to live in me, through me, and for me.
And I finally understood the irresistible impetus for telling everyone, starting from family and friends, to anybody else who would listen, about Jesus.
Because it’s like chancing upon the best restaurant with the most unimaginably delicious food that you’ve ever tasted, better than the finest haute cuisine from the most Michelin-star-awarded chef, food that is so satisfying, right down to your soul, but yet is light and leaves you hungering for more. Food that doesn’t add excess calories or fats or anything harmful, but that is actually good for your health. Food that is, best of all, light on your wallet – in fact, it’s free.
Such a restaurant, and such food, is practically the best kept secret anywhere around. And it was just there all along, right under our noses.
When you find something like that, what do you do? You tell your family and friends, of course! In fact, you feel like telling the whole world about it! You feel like, “Aw man, why didn’t I go try this place before? Why didn’t I listen to those people who tried to tell me about this place before? Well, never mind that now – hey guys, you really need to try this food! You’ll never want to eat anywhere else again!” If you could, you’d shout from the housetops to all within earshot.
Free food that’s delicious and soul-satisfying? It can’t be that good then, since it musn’t be worth very much.
Just because it is free for you and me doesn’t mean it came cheap. It cost God the blood of His darling and only Son and it cost Jesus untold pain and suffering, even His life. The sacrifice that Jesus paid at the cross for you and I in bearing our sins and the sins of the whole world, and in exchange giving us His eternal righteousness, is so great that nothing can ever buy or earn it, for it is priceless.
Sure, you might want to tell your family and friends, but so what if they don’t want to try it? After all, every man to his own taste, right? And why tell the whole world? Wouldn’t it be more for you if less share in it?
Ordinarily, that does make sense. But Jesus is no ordinary food. The more you take, the more there is. The words and life that He brings through an anointed sermon that reveals Himself is not just a good meal that you polish off before moving on to the next. When you truly taste the grace and truth that is in the person of Jesus, you will realise the treasure that you’ve found: Here lies the answer to your every question, the solution to your every problem, the antidote to your every fear, heartache and unrest, the fulfilment of your every need.
And in that moment you realise this is what everyone is searching for, the key to eternal and abundant life, the only hope in a lost world filled with death and pain. Of course you would yearn first and foremost for your dearest family and friends to have it too, because you know their life would turn so much for the better with Him in it. How do I know this? Because every believer whose life has been transformed by Jesus will tell you that. It’s happened far too many times to be a sheer coincidence.
For someone as impassive and indifferent as myself, I’d be the first to tell you that it shouldn’t bother me if people choose not to believe in Jesus. But every believer, from the moment they get saved, gets a new heart from God: a heart that yearns to love others as they have been loved, and to reconcile others to God. Because the love that He puts in us for others does not conform to but defies human sensibility. Because it is His love.
Well, it just sounds too good to be true. And there’s no such thing as a free lunch. So what’s the catch?
There really isn’t any, but if you insist, then here’s what you need to know before you decide whether to accept Jesus into your life:
If you don’t want to talk different, think different, and act different from the way you do now, don’t do it.
If you don’t want the assurance of being made right with God eternally and having a guarantee of living forever with God in heaven, don’t do it.
If you don’t want a sense of abiding peace, joy, and hope coming into your innermost being, and love and compassion springing up for your fellow men, don’t do it.
If you don’t want your relationships, marriage, children, work or business to prosper, and blessings to suddenly start coming your way left, right, and centre, don’t do it.
If you don’t want to start becoming healthier, and looking younger, better and happier than you’ve ever been, don’t do it.
If you don’t want to lose your bad habits and start living a holy life by accident, don’t do it.
If you don’t want to enjoy divine protection and being put at the right place at the right time in these last crazy and chaotic days, don’t do it.
Because when you encounter Jesus, you encounter grace.