By Gary Miller
It’s been several years since I was too busy to hunt. I can remember one year when I was opening a business that deer season had to be skipped. I never remember missing much of a turkey season until this last year. During the last three weeks of the year, I hunted one time. I was just too busy with so many things going on. I hope that never happens again.
Can a hunter be called a hunter who never hunts? Can a fisherman be called a fisherman who never fishes? Can a runner be called a runner who never runs? Or how often does one have to participate before he or she can assume a title. And how long must one refrain from a particular activity before the title is taken away? I mean if I went for three years without hunting, could I still consider myself a hunter? If not three, what about five, or ten years? Would I then have to accept the fact that I once was a hunter but not anymore? I think while we may not agree on the time, we all would agree there would come a time when we would have to relinquish the position we once had.
I once heard a pastor say there are two types of membership models – the club model and the family model. The club model is based upon rules. If one agrees to and follows the rules of the club, he or she is allowed to join. When the rules are broken for an extended period of time, membership is revoked. The family model establishes a relationship first and while there are rules for each family, the breaking of such rules may harm the harmony of the membership but it doesn’t renounce the relationship.
For instance, while I may break the rules of my family, I will always be in the family. What model do you think God has decided to base our relationship to him on? I hope you said the family model. It’s true. As God did in the life of Adam and Eve, Abraham, and the Children of Israel, God wants a relationship with us built on grace and faith that he initiates. The do’s and don’ts of such a relationship are not there to establish it, but to make it the most fruitful. This is what separates Christianity from all other religions and as a result it is the only one that can give absolute certainty concerning eternal life. This means while I may miss a season or two, I can still be called a Christian. Not because of my previous actions because of permanent family.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com