My son played on his high school football team this past fall, and I enjoyed going to every game. Of course, watching him play was what I was there for, but a high school football game is more than just a game- it’s a social event. And if the concessions are good, it’s can be a mighty tasty experience too.
At one of his away games, played at a large high school in in the middle of town, I sat on the visitors side, waiting for the game to start. The host high school had a large and locally influential alumni group, many of whom were active in business and politics. And our high school, from a nearby “bedroom” community, had it’s share of dignitaries there as well.
As circumstances would have it, I knew many of these people, mostly through my years working at our towns newspaper. And as I sat in the stands, quite a few folks stopped by to say hello. I’m certainly no one influential- I just happen to know a large number of folks. But after a few minutes, a man sitting nearby, who I noticed had been staring at me, came over and asked a question that made me chuckle.
He said “Who are you?”
Puzzled, I asked him what he meant. He said “Well, I know those people you’ve been talking to. They came up to greet you. They all know you by name. And I have no idea who you are- but you must be somebody for all of them to take the time to come see you.”
I laughed and explained to him that it was all really just an odd coincidence- they were simply folks who I’d worked for or with in the past, or knew through business relationships, and they were being kind to drop by. And I was so busy focusing on my hot dogs and nachos, I wasn’t looking around at who was there! 😀
Still, it got me to thinking. Sometimes, it’s not who you know, but who knows you that really has a meaning. Take for instance someone many people are familiar with through his many movie roles, most notably as Agent 007 James Bond, Sean Connery. If we were all standing on the street, and he walked by, we’d all know who he was. We might all wave and say “Hey, Mr. Connery” or something equally as inspired, and he’d probably wave back and continue on his way.
Now imagine if we were standing there, in the same situation, and when he turned to wave, a look of friendly recognition came over his face, and he hurried over to one of the folks standing there, shook their hand, gave them a hug and said “Hey friend, how have you been?”
Certainly we’d look at that person different. Look at who they know! They’re not just another person in the crowd, but someone recognized, someone important enough for even the well known to stop what they are doing and say hello.
And how we often crave that ourselves- to be known, to be recognized, to be welcomed.
OK, so what’s the point, you ask?
Today I was reading in the book of Ephesians, spending time seeking God’s wisdom for my life. As I read through the book, it’s author, Paul, is challenging the the church at Ephesus about some decisions they were making in how they believed. As I read, a small part of a verse jumped out at me with great meaning. Galatians 4:9 says:
But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?
I re-read it again…. focusing on one part….
But now that you know God—or rather are known by God….
Think about that for a minute, “or rather are known by God.”
That’s some powerful stuff. What Paul is saying to the recipients of his letter- which by extension includes you and I- is a simple yet powerful thing.
When we become one of God’s children through accepting Jesus as our Saviour…. He knows us. That’s a big deal. It’s one thing to think about how God is omnipotent, how He knows all and everything. But it struck me in light of my previously related story, when we are known by God, it’s the kind of “known” like I described above- someone who comes to you, greets you, shakes your hand and gives you a hug. In other words- someone who many might see as far away because of their exalted position, but in reality is is someone who knows you in a personal way.
And unlike my friends at the football game, or Sean Connery (though I’m sure he’s a great guy), being known by God takes on a whole new meaning in your life when you accept Jesus as your Saviour. It’s not just some local official or famous person, not even a politician who can make things happen.
Being known by God in that way is to be in an intimate relationship with the One who created you. The One who created you for a purpose- His purpose.
If you already know Jesus as your Saviour, I urge you to continue to seek Him, and to pray that He will guide you in service to Him. And if you don’t know Him as your Saviour, if you are, in a sense, watching other people and saying “Who is this fellow they know?”, I urge you to consider making Jesus the Lord and Saviour of your life, and getting connected into a local church that can help you grow in service to the Lord. And if you’d like to share this decision with me, or to talk further about what that means, please feel free to email me. It is the single most important decision of your life, friend.
Because there will come a day, judgment day, when you will be asked if you knew Jesus, and there won’t be any time left to make that decision, and if you did not profess Him in life, He will not claim you in eternity as His own.
Who do you know?