TITLE: CREATED EQUAL 03/12/2015
By Henry Miranda
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Have you ever felt you were treated less than equal because of not having the proper bringing up, schooling, appearance or speech? Society has a way of separating us into different groups. To be accepted in today's society, you have to have all the right credentials.
I was born in South Texas. I remember when I was young going into a department store where there were two drinking fountains, one marked for whites only and the other marked for colored only. The restrooms were the same way. I didn't understand it at that time. Like everybody else, I just lived with it. I never met a black person until the age of fourteen. We lived in different parts of town.
I remember one particular incident to this day. I was walking with some friends in downtown Houston; we were walking on the sidewalk when this black person came around the corner. We were about ready to move out of the way, when he stepped off the sidewalk and into the street to avoid us. I learned later that he was seen as a lower class citizen and he was to make way for us.
In 1958, I received an invitation from my older brother to visit him in California. He had stayed in California after his discharge from the Air Force after serving in Korea. My brother sent me a bus ticket so I could travel from Houston, Texas to Los Angeles, California. As the bus made its way to California, it made several stops.
In Arizona I was surprised to see that a black person got on board, and instead of going to the back of the bus, which is what I was accustomed to, he sat next to me. I didn't know how to act. I had never been close to a black man before. He broke the ice and started to tell me he was going home, and that he was from Oakland, California. I got to know him, and it changed my whole outlook. I know now what is meant with the saying "walk a mile in my shoes and you will know me." I really enjoyed his company making the long trip easier to bear.
We are all created equal in the eyes of God. He doesn't see any color or achievements that would get us closer to him. Jesus paid the price for us to be all one family with God our Father. We all start the same when we enter the kingdom of God. We are all equal in God's eyes. God equally rewards both people who follow him throughout their lives, and people who follow him only in the latter part of their lives. God promises eternal life to those who follow him. As long as he delivers on his promise to us, why should we be bothered by the fact that he gives the same reward to others?
We should not be resentful when we don't get the recognition that we desire when we help in church or in other Christian duties. Always act humbly knowing your reward is in heaven, and our Heavenly Father sees all.
Jesus used parables to teach his listeners about the kingdom of God. What is a parable? A parable is a story that conveys a moral truth. Parables tell a story, not about something recurrent in real life, but about a one-time event which is fictitious. They derive their persuasiveness from being told in a simple, vivid and fresh way which engages the hearer. Let's take the parable of the worker in the vineyard for example. This parable basically means there is no seniority with God and that we are all equal. (Matthew 20: 1-16)
The laborers who worked all day and received their payment, complained that the master paid the late afternoon laborers the same wage. God is generous in opening the doors of his kingdom to all who will enter, both those who have labored a lifetime and those who come at the last hour. While the reward is the same, the motive for one's labor can make all the difference. Some work only for reward. They will only put as much effort in as they think they will get out. Others labor out of love and joy for the opportunity to work.
Many Christians have the attitude "I'm a better Christian because I'm not a 'Johnny come lately." Many have the attitude "People in my church should do things my way because I've been here longer." No person should feel "There's no point in becoming a Christian now. I've lived such a terrible life that even if I became a Christian, I would get little or no reward." God doesn't care how long you didn't follow him. His care is when your life on earth ends, were you a follower of Christ or not?
It is important to realize that Jesus did not simply teach about how to live a 'good' life or be a 'nice person.' The attitude we should have is how can I serve God to the best of my God-
given abilities. Remember, the old saying "God loves a cheerful giver" well it doesn't have to mean money; we can give of our labor. We belong to one body, and each of us is given a different purpose for the growth of the kingdom of God. We need to work together for the main purpose: to serve God.
Pride, anger, bitterness, and selfishness are all destructive behaviors. If we don't deal with those feelings and turn them over to God so he can begin a good work in our life, we are only fooling ourselves. Our Lord calls us to serve him and our neighbor with generosity and joy.
The only way to know what God has for you is to stop and listen for God's direction. We live in an age full of conveniences to give us more time and make our lives more enjoyable. But that often makes us lazy. Instead of reading and studying the Bible for ourselves, we depend on TV evangelists and our pastors to teach us the Word. We need to take the time to read and study the Bible for ourselves. We, as Christians, have a duty to follow Christ.
We are all in the same position in Christ. We made the choice to follow Christ because God allows us the freedom to choose. We were not forced to serve God, so why do we act as if we are? God is our master because we chose to be slaves to him. The position we hold in the church should not matter; the only thing we should be worried about is are we serving God to the best of our potential. If you were 10 years old or 80 years old when you accepted Christ as your savior, you are only at the beginning, because you were reborn in the spirit, you received a new birth.
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