Yo, la luz, he venido al mundo, para que todo el que cree en mí no permanezca en tinieblas. Si alguno oye mis palabras y no las guarda, yo no lo juzgo; porque no vine a juzgar al mundo, sino a salvar al mundo. El que me rechaza y no recibe mis palabras, tiene quien lo juzgue; la palabra que he hablado, ésa lo juzgará en el día final. Juan 12, 46-48
I have come into the world as light, to prevent anyone who believes in Me from staying in the dark any more. If anyone hears My words and does not keep them faithfully, it is not I who shall judge such a person, since I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world: anyone who rejects Me and refuses My words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. John 12: 46-47
That was the thing about my parents, is that they kept His words faithfully. I was thinking about those who say, “Lord, Lord,” but do not obey, and the heart of this issue is that they do not really believe.
But my parents believed. Which is why it made perfect sense to make those weekend trips to the orphanages hidden among the cardboard shacks on the hillsides of Tijuana and Ensenada. Why would we ever keep more than 10 pieces of Halloween candy if there were so many children without? And it made sense that they opened wide our front door to all who wandered, even if they were a bit socially inept or smelled funny or dug through the garbage for leftovers. Perhaps they were angels in disguise. And all of those boxes of Bibles, big and little, that filled our cupboards and glove compartments and front pockets. If the Word of God indeed does not return void, why would anyone not hesitate to hand them out to the store clerk, the hitchhiker or a boxload to the freshman Western Civ class at University High School?
My parents’ kitchen is pretty, well, awkward. There is this sort of odd glass cabinet that everyone over six feet tall bangs their head on every time they walk past it, and, well, all of the Coverdales are over six feet tall. And there are these fold-down electric burners that are kind of hipster in a nice Modernist sort of way, but they certainly scorch wrists and food and pans and everything else near or on the kitchen counter. And the cupboards are deep and awkward and it is totally impossible to reach anything under there in the dark abyss, even if you crouch down low, and they are sort of filled with termites and little bug parts and generations and generations of plastic sticky shelf paper. So one time mom and dad had a chunk of money and lots of fun House Beautiful magazines and books from the library and we measured and calculated and sketched, and we were all good to go and about to head on over to Home Depot with our color chips, when my dad happened to notice one of the jillions of pleas for money that fill their mailbox. And I think this particular flyer was asking for Bibles in Russia or China or somewhere. And 100 dollars would buy a lot of Bibles, but 2,000 dollars would buy even more. And after the briefest of discussions, my parents pushed all of those plans into the trashcan and wrote out a check and stuck it in an envelope and mailed it off.
I remember a conversation I had with Marco just before I left Italy. He was talking about the one who went out to sow, and some of the seed produced thirty-fold, some sixty-fold, and some a hundred-fold. He asked why would anyone choose anything but a hundred-fold, no matter what it cost?
And here Jesus lays it out nice and clear: The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you truly that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain of wheat; but if it does, it brings a good harvest. The man who loves his own life will destroy it, and the man who hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. If a man wants to enter my service, he must follow my way; and where I am, my servant will also be.
And what a sad little line is hidden away is this chapter: Nevertheless, many even of the authorities did believe in Him. But they would not admit it for fear of the Pharisees, in case they should be excommunicated. They were more concerned to have the approval of men than to have the approval of God.
And it is not Jesus who will judge us, because He did not come to judge but to save all men. It will be His words that judge us: I assure you that whatever you did for the humblest of my brothers you did for Me.
Dear Jesus, Light of the World, I confess that I do not keep Your words faithfully. I confess that I am concerned about the approval of man. I confess that I look away from the humblest of your brothers.
Help me to follow Your way. Where You are, may I be there also.
And I still bang my head on that glass cabinet. But at least I have no excuses. I know what His way looks like.