Most everyone is familiar with the classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens. It is a favorite of the Christmas Season. The story features the character Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly and miserable old man who is visited by three spirits that show him his life viewed from Christmases Past, Present and Future. The goal is to teach him important lessons about life and love.
Think with me along these same lines as I muse about the story of the average Christian’s life. If you look back to the beginning of your Christian walk, you probably remember the excitement you had about your new faith and the desire you had to grow and know more about the Bible. You may have had a desire to be at church every time the doors were open and devoured the Bible, hungry for more. Furthermore, there were other Believers with whom you enjoyed being around. They taught you Truth and influenced your life. Maybe you identified with the Apostle Paul who wrote in Romans 1:14, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.” KJV. Maybe you felt indebted to all those who had a part in your early Christian upbringing. Perhaps there was a grandparent, Sunday School teacher or Pastor who touched your life with the Truth of the Gospel, whose memory you cherish. Are there “ghosts” of Christians Past whose memories you cherish because of their influence on your life? Who are those who invested their time and love in you? Take a moment and remember them and if they are still living, why not thank them?
Are there those in your life at Present whose love and encouragement continues to be an influence for God and for good? These may be some that are so consistent that you almost take them for granted. Those who daily uphold you in prayer or in a myriad of other ways are always “there” for you. You know, those who would be sorely missed should they no longer be in your life. The Bible teaches us that we are members of Christ’s body by faith in Christ. That body is exampled in the local church. There are people in your local church that are Christians Present who are quietly making a difference…maybe you are one who is influencing someone else.
The Christians Future are those who are brought to faith because of your testimony of faith. One of the saddest accounts written in the Scriptures is Judges 2:10 “ And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” KJV This speaks of the failure of the former generation to pass along their faith to their children, resulting in a lack of faith in God. This is done so easily due to neglect. Those who had experienced God during the settling of the Land were so busy afterwards with making livings for their families that they failed to teach them to live for God. Someone has well said that Yesterday is a cancelled check, Tomorrow is a promissory note, but Today is ready cash, that’s why it is called the Present. Ghosts of Christians Future, those who never were will haunt those who failed to share their faith. While we do not know what the future holds, one thing for sure is that Today is the opportunity to invest in Tomorrow.
C. Harold Lowden wrote some music in 1915 entitled “The Sunshine Song” for children. When many suggested that the music should be given words, Mr. Lowden asked T.O. Chisholm to write words for it. In 1917, Mr. Chisholm penned the words to what has become the much loved hymn, LIVING FOR JESUS.