A friend of mine had left the ministry of a mainstream Protestant church where he had served for over 20 years. It was extremely difficult for him, as you can imagine. He was nationally prominent both in his religion as well as in Protestant circles in general and had lectured and been a consultant to other ministers over a long period of time. To a much reduced extent, he continued his involvement in these circles even after leaving the ministry.
On one occasion, he and his wife were meeting with a group of ministers. He told them they should look to the Mormon Church for ideas about how to implement the teachings of Christ.
You can imagine the response he got from that suggestion!
“Pastor, how can you make that kind of statement? The Mormons aren’t even Christians!”
Here’s how my friend responded.
“My experience has been that the Protestant churches are good at teaching about Jesus Christ, but the Mormons live Christ. My family and I have had difficult economic circumstances over the past months. We have had to move twice. We couldn’t afford to have movers move us so we hired a truck and did it ourselves. For those moves, there was one man from my former congregation who came to help me. On the other hand, there were twenty-seven Mormons, including a beautiful man who was 90 years old, who were there to assist!”
Then his wife took the baton. Referring to the full time missionaries that had worked all day to help them, she said, “There were two handsome young men who did much of the work. I know they had better things to do than lug furniture around for someone they didn’t even know, but there they were. I think you pastors would be hard pressed to find in your congregations anyone like those two who would have volunteered their time under those circumstances.”
She wasn’t through.
“When the moving was over, they were all hot and sweaty. I thanked them for helping us. Do you know what they said to me? They said, ‘Oh, don’t thank us. Thank you for letting us be of service!’”
The ministers were silent. There was nothing more to be said.
It is one thing to profess Christ. It is quite another to follow Him.