19th March 2015
Barbers are usually quite talkative! My regular barber certainly is, and he chats away to his customer in the chair and to others sitting waiting for a trim. It’s amazing the topics that are covered such as the international crises, politics, sports results, the latest sad accidents and tragic murders - but I’ve never heard him talk about Jesus!
When Bishop Taylor Smith, Chaplain General to the British Forces in the First World War, was chatting with his barber, he asked him ‘Are you a Christian?’ Imagine the barber’s shock, for that question had never been raised before. He almost dropped the scissors! He just mumbled ‘I do my best.’
The conversation closed, but when the haircut was finished, the bishop asked ‘Could I attend to your next customer?’ The barber was hesitant to respond, so the chaplain pursued the topic and said ‘I’ll do my best.’ The barber quickly replied ‘But your best isn’t good enough for my customers’, then the bishop’s final word was ‘And your best isn’t good enough for my God!’
That’s true. Pulling our moral socks up and doing our human best doesn’t make us a Christian. It’s admitting to God that we fall short of what we ought to be. If we’re honest, we are quite aware of our failures and shortcomings, and the Bible calls it sin.
I think of the Bible as God’s Love Letter to us all, showing us not only His divine love, and His remedy for our human condition. It tells us that ‘All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:2) but also ‘If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins’ (I John 1:9). What an amazing gift! Have you received it yet?
That opens up for us his gift of forgiveness and eternal life, which is not just our earthly life-span here but it extends beyond death to our Heavenly Home with our Lord. What an amazing expectation and precious gift for true Christians! Have you received that gift, knowing that death is not the end?
I love the old hymns, so many assuring us of heaven. Here are some hymn lines: He who relies on Jesus Christ, heaven shall be his most surely… By Thee shall all be given that I can need, O Friend indeed, for this life or for heaven… Heaven with Him I enter in... Heaven below and heaven above.
God’s gracious gift is described in a modern translation as: Everything for nothing for those who don’t deserve anything. That sums it up!
Rev Perry Smith