"Changed or Unchanged"
July 12, 2014
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
Edith Rockefeller McCormick, the daughter of John D. Rockefeller, had great wealth, a high social position, and a small army of servants.
When they were hired, those servants were given one absolutely unbreakable rule: they were never, I mean never, allowed to speak to McCormick. To the best of anyone's recollection, only once was that rule broken. That was when McCormick's young son died of scarlet fever.
Word of the boy's death reached the McCormick's summer retreat at a time when the family was in the midst of hosting a party. After some discussion, the servants decided the tragic news was something that had to be shared with their mistress. One of them was elected to speak to the lady. Respectfully, the servant approached, leaned forward, and whispered the news into McCormick's ear.
There was a long pause after which McCormick nodded her head. It was her way of saying she had understood the message. And then, with the news of her child's death echoing in her head and heart, Mrs. McCormick did something most unusual. She continued the party; she continued on as if nothing had happened.
Unusual? Most assuredly. It is not what you or I would do, is it? Because the Holy Spirit has called and kept us in the faith, we are touched by the Christ's life, death and resurrection. Because of what God has done -- and continues to do -- our lives are changed. The old is gone and the new has come.
But not everybody is like us. There are many who listen to the message of sin's damnation and Christ's blood-bought salvation and then, having heard, they continue on with their lives. They ignore the life, death and resurrection of the Savior; they hear of His supreme sacrifice and remain unmoved.
All of which means their story is far more tragic than that of Edith McCormick's ... and it also means that we, understanding the gravity and finality of their position, must redouble our efforts to reach these souls while there is still time.
Moved by the Savior's sacrifice we need to hear and act on His words. You remember what He said: "We must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work" (John 9:4).
God grant we do so.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for my salvation I give thanks. Now I pray that others who live their lives without consideration of their eternity may have their eyes opened and their hearts filled with faith in their Savior. Grant me the words which the Holy Spirit can use to touch these people. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries