Joe Otto

God’s children include only those who have chosen – and/or have been elected – to accept and obey Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, thereby being redeemed from their sin and assured a resurrected body and eternal life.

Regardless of the job, work, profession, role or other responsibility that each individual Christian may have in this world, each must fulfill the unique plan or work that God has given to each individual as he/she walks the Christian way.

The plan or work that God assigns to each of his children in this world may be great or small but it will always be consistent with the spiritual gift God has given to each – a gift combining both an individual’s unique talent and his will; activated by the individual’s desire and his power; identified and measured by the effect that the plan has on advancing God’s work of salvation for the lost and/or his grace, mercy, caring, enablement, support and love shared with both the lost and/or among his children while serving as God’s hands and/or voice; and reinforced and authenticated by each Christian’s daily walk.

Of course, most individual assigned plans, discipling works or “talents” will not have the worldwide effect of a Billy Graham, but they will always have a life-changing or saving effect on at least one individual. As such, it may be to write, sing or paint pictures that inspire, soften or water the soil for the seed of conversion to take hold in an individual.

So too, the talent might well be to simply love, care, provide, support, inspire and/or enable a spouse, child or acquaintance to fulfill his or her plan for God.

The saying “behind every good man there is a good woman” – or vice versa – is often true. I think of the man or woman of faith whose assigned plan or talent is to simply labor hard each and every day of life, if married, faithfully remaining so, and providing for spouse, children or others who may or may not even be fully aware of the God-effects of the faithful exercise of his or her talent or work.

Note carefully that whatever our talent, its nature or scope, we must not be like the servant in the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), who buries his talent or allows it to atrophy from nonuse. To do so is disobedient to God’s will and purpose and will present a stumbling block to one’s genuine conversion.

Finally, a Christian must evidence his or her authenticity by his or her daily walk – being a servant and doer of the word, not just a sayer. Initially, let us examine what this should look like; in Part II of this message we will focus on how to do it – or rather how to allow God to act through us. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and Paul’s Galatians and Thessalonians help to paint the picture of Christian authenticity in his or her daily walk:

• Be salt and light to others, particularly among the lost.

• Practice the 10 Commandments.

• Do not be angry with others; do not call others names.

• Don’t resist an evil person; turn our other cheek; love our enemies.

• Discern, but do not judge others; forgive all others.

• Lay our treasures up in heaven – not on earth; give to God and the poor.

• Be a peacemaker; give to the needy.

• Avoid lustfulness; do not divorce (except for unfaithfulness).

• Do not worry, or be anxious for anything: rather, trust in God.

• Reflect the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control, encourage one another, give thanks and – pray continuously.

• With love and kindness evidence our salt and light regarding: sexual immorality, abortion, idolatry, debauchery, hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension and factions, envy, drunkenness and drugs – much of the world today as highlighted by cable news.

In addition to exhibiting the above, there are three items of documentary evidence that might well be used to prove or disprove the authenticity of one’s walk: the markings, underlining and worn condition of one’s Bible; one’s calendar of daily activities; and finally, one’s checkbook.

Joe Otto is an attorney from Rockwood who writes an occasional column for The Tribune-Democrat.