Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Being Owned

Not that I have already obtained
this or am already perfect,
but I press on to make it my own,
because Christ Jesus has made
me his own.

Philippians 3:16

As a young person growing up in the church I heard amazing "Jesus made me his own" stories. They involved marvelous accounts of being rescued from behaviors I had never dreamed of as well as the miraculous results of Jesus making people his own. I wanted an amazing story as well. It never occurred to me that my "Jesus made me his own" story was unique in its own plain and simple way.

It’s important to hear "Jesus made me his own" stories. Listening to how Jesus works in the lives of people helps us understand the depth of his character and the all encompassing love he has for each one he makes his own.

For several childhood years Uncle Wendell would visit our family at Christmas. After the death of my grandpa those visits stopped. And while contact with Wendell was sparse he remained, for me, a larger than life fixture. One recent summer I traveled with my parents and found myself listening to Uncle Wendell’s "Jesus made me his own" story. At eighty-one years of age he remembered it clearly. It meant everything to him. It had, after all, made a profound impact on him at the moment of its happening as well as his next sixty years.

Jesus met my uncle at a church service in Chicago. As the evening came to a close and the invitation was made to anyone who wanted to know Jesus Uncle Wendell could feel something in his spirit shift. Recalling his feelings and his hesitancy he remembered, "I said, God, if you want me you’re going to have to send someone to get me." Opening his eyes there stood Jesus, looking like the preacher, reaching out his hand.

Jesus made Wendell his own that night. Sixty years later I heard the choking voice of my uncle declare, "I knew He loved me. And that has made all the difference."

Jesus, thank you
for making me your own.
Your ownership has and will
make all the difference.

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