Thursday, May 19, 2011

Susan B. Christians . . . an interview with Terry's Client Tim Shoemaker

Last week you led a devotional for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference where you placed a couple coins in a volunteer’s hands and asked him to guess want kind of coins he held.  He guessed quarters--but they were really those pesky Susan B. Anthony dollars.  What was that all about?

People were always mistaking the Susan B’s for quarters.  It was annoying.  The government finally stopped making them.   I asked the audience to imagine for a moment that Christians were dollar coins, and those who weren’t followers of Christ were quarters.

You weren’t suggesting Christians were more valuable or better than others, but that they were certainly better off.

Exactly.  We have the Holy Spirit inside, bringing us love, joy, peace, contentment, and more if we let him.  We have Jesus, who has promised to be with us always, we have access to the Father . . . the God of the universe.  We have the promise of eternal life in Heaven some day . . . and so much more.  Yes, there is an indisputable value to being a Christian.

So how does that tie in to the Susan B. Anthony?

Dollar coins need to look different from quarters.  They need to be instantly recognized.  Our government learned that lesson the hard way from the Susan B.
Trouble is--we’ve got a bunch of “Susan B. Anthony Christians” in our world today.  They’re saved.  “They’re a dollar”.  They’re better off.  But they’re living so much like the world people rarely see the difference . . . or the value.  And tragically, Susan B. Christians miss so many benefits that are ours as believers.  They don’t even experience the difference themselves.

Then you pulled out one of the older silver dollars . . . a big ‘ol 1923 “Peace” type, and compared it to a Susan B. Anthony.  Quite a difference.

Night and day.  The Susan B. was a poor imitation of the original dollar.  Which brings us back to the whole Susan B. Christian example.  Ephesians 5:1 reminds us to “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children . . . “  We’re to be growing more like God . . . not like the world. 

You showed us the edge of the coins.  The older silver dollar was solid silver, all the way through.  But the Susan B., just like the quarters, had copper at the core--not silver.  The silver was just a surface thing.

Bingo.  At the very heart of the Susan B. dollar is compromise . . . and that is the real problem with many Christians.  They compromise in areas of character, integrity, and in the way they obey God’s Word.  They compromise when it comes to maintaining a Christian attitude at home and they compromise in the way they love.

It’s a heart issue.  When we selectively ignore what the Bible teaches, we have a compromising heart.

Absolutely.  We cut our own value, effectiveness, and happiness.  Even our closeness with God.  Proverbs 4:23 makes it pretty clear.  “Above all guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

So we need to examine our hearts to see if we’re compromising in some way.  To see if we’re a “Susan B. Christian”.  If we’re truly doing it God’s way, we’re going to be different from the world.

Instantly recognizable.  If I’d of put a couple of those older dollars in our volunteer’s hands he’d have known immediately that they weren’t quarters.

And he might have taken off with them.

That too.   Which underscores just how much more valuable we are as Christians when we’re clearly different from the world.

It comes down to truly living according to God’s principles.  Being the real deal.  You mentioned you actually keep one of those old silver dollars in your pocket to prompt your memory.

Every time I reach in my pocket that dollar serves as a reminder of the Christian I want to be.

The kind we ALL want to be.  I think some of our readers may want to do the same thing.  Thanks, Tim for sharing with us!


Johnnie said...

Enjoyed your interview, Tim. You have a talent for finding (and creating) objects that symbolize what you're teaching. My "Tim Shoemaker's Super-Ocular POV Finder" is still on my desk.

Karen said...

Hi Tim, me too! Love your visiual, concrete illustrations. Makes your books a great read for ALL! :) said...

Kindred Heart Writer #3 checking in to say how much your illustration touched me. Thanks Tim

Cheryl Linn Martin said...

Very interesting comparison, Tim. A great visual picture for us. I certainly hope my faith is evident and recognizable. Thanks for the reminder.

Patty Wysong said...

What a great object lesson! I can see I'm going to have to add both a Susan B. and a silver dollar to my purse now, as a reminder but also as an instant lesson or devotional.


Caroline said...

That's a great illustration. Thank you for sharing it with us here! All of it reminds me of Romans 12:1-2. Praying to be more like Him every moment.