It was one click away from going into cyber space when I decided to read the forwarded e-mail. I was glad I did. It was a humorous story and one that will help me to think beyond the practice of addition from now on.
What could do that? It was a simple story about a little boy who was having great difficulty with elementary math. In fact he was flunking it. His parents tried everything to no avail. They even changed his school in the end, to a Catholic school.
The parents noticed a difference in his behavior immediately. He would come home and without a hassle, go to his room to study and do homework. It became a priority for him to study more. They were elated even if they couldn’t figure it out.
Report card day arrive. The son handed his report to his parents and went upstairs to hit the books as usual. They expected to see the big “F” beside math and instead were surprised with and “A”. What had happened to their child?
So, they asked him. “What happened to change you?” The young boy answered, “When I started attending this school I knew they didn’t fool around with people in math class. I knew it when I saw the guy nailed to the plus sign dripping blood.”
Wow! I don’t know about you, but I’m sure glad that guy did that for me. If we could only think about the crucifix as a plus sign in our lives daily, our lives would be more positive. Thanks Jesus!
What would happen if we each got down to business, quit fooling around and took seriously the act of love that took place on the cross? That story got me thinking about how we sometimes are just getting along or not putting a real effort into living for Christ. We stall, daring someone to move us into action. You can call it drifting, floating, or semi-committed if you like. Thank God, Jesus wasn’t.
The little boy found out he could do better with the right incentive, so can we. I think we make Christianity so big sometimes we can’t live up to our own expectations let alone God’s. I remember the first time I realized God must be holding back a snicker because of my behavior.
I went through the long skirt phase, the long hair phase and others as well, trying to please my Heavenly Father. I used to say yes to everything asked of me by others to discover that can leave you tired in short order. I was bringing a lot of “F’s” home; failure, fatigue and fear.
Like the boy, I had no shortage of instructors. I listened to tapes. I listened to all the television-teaching programs and live preaching that I could on the methods of living for Christ. I wanted to please God so much.
Then an old hymn came to mind, “At the Cross.” It’s words tell of where we first see the light. That’s it! I have to go back to the source, get back to basics. What was it that drew me to the guy nailed to the plus sign in the first place? Surely that would be where the answer was. It was.
As I looked in my mind, at Jesus on the Cross, I became motivated by the same thing that made him allow himself to be crucified to begin with—love. Love for you and me motivated him. God could not improve on what he already is but knew love would inspire people to be better than they are now. And it’s great, it is a one on one thing, no grandiose scale needed.
It took one Lord (one God, one Christ) changing the hearts and lives of those who knew him and believed in him to shake their known world. Somewhere along the line, did we change the plus sign to a minus and negate its power? We have, if you’re like me and let anything take away, even for a moment, the realization of what Christ did. When we do, we minimize the affect the passion of Christ has on our lives and let the clouds of doubt and despair dampen our existence.
Can you imagine how the boy must have felt when he knew he could really do the math problems if he applied himself? Suddenly the possibilities became endless, all because he got serious and appropriated his energies on the task at hand.
The question is simple. Does the same spirit that dwelt in Christ dwell in us? If the answer is yes then you can’t help but see the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s personification when you reach out to touch others for the cause of Christ.
Christ’s love will exude from you and draw people to know the Savior as you do.
Their question likely will be, “Why did Jesus die on that cross?” Love. Love that would change peoples thinking of themselves as less then, a minus sign, into a plus to others.
Thanks to a short story, we all can say, “I want to try a little harder because of that guy on the plus sign. He’s done so much for me, I can do no less for him.”