My greatest blessings spring from the legacy of faith handed down to me from generations past. This past Sunday, generations of the Roberts clan reunited to share in heartfelt worship, Holy Communion, fellowship, and a wonderful meal. What a great day!
My Pawpaw, Hoyt Roberts, went to be with the Lord in 1997, but he left behind a suitcase full of sermons he often delivered as a lay preacher for the Methodist church. I combined two of those sermons and had the privilege of reading them to our family. Pawpaw’s heart for children propelled his love for reading stories to his grandchildren. So, it came as no surprise when I discovered one of those stories in a sermon. Pawpaw was like Jesus in many ways. However, telling simple stories to lovingly teach difficult lessons made him most Christlike. Picture in your mind a thin, little 5’5” baldheaded man sitting in front of you, smiling as he tells you this story:
“I heard a “little kid story” at a Walk to Emmaus that illustrates so well what we want to think about for a few minutes.
One time there was a tiger cub that wandered too far away from its mother in the jungle and got lost. It ran into a herd of goats, who took him along with them.
Being so young the little tiger had never thought about what he was. So, he grew up thinking he was a goat. He climbed rocks like a goat, ate grass like a goat, and it never occurred to him that he was not a goat.
Time passed. He grew up to be a big tiger, but he even thought he looked like a goat. One day King Tiger looked over a cliff and saw this young tiger with a herd of goats. He hurried down to the young tiger and said, “Why are you living with this herd of goats?”
He said, “Because I’m a goat.”
“No”, King Tiger said, “You’re not a goat. Come to this pool of water and look at yourself.”
He looked at himself, and then at King Tiger, and was surprised. He saw who he really was … he was a tiger!
King Tiger said, “You don’t need to eat grass. Let’s find some meat to eat.” He had never eaten meat. It was great – just what tigers are supposed to eat. To him it was so much better than grass. Now he was beginning to act like a tiger should.
Then both tigers went up on the high cliff. King Tiger said, “Now roar like a tiger.” He didn’t know how. King Tiger let out a wild roar, and it echoed from the cliff across the valley.
He said to the young tiger, “Now you do it.” After a few squeaks from his voice the young tiger let out a wild roar, and his voice shook the rocks and echoed in the valley!”
Now the young tiger knew who he was! He had discovered what God created him to be … a tiger! Now that he believed it, and accepted who he was, he began to become all he had the capacity to be. He became the tiger God created him to be.
God has a plan for all he created. He has a definite plan for every human life. When we find what God created us to be, we begin to get in tune with the universe, and living becomes increasingly more abundant.
The tiger cub didn’t have to make a lot of effort to become a tiger. He was already a tiger. He had only to discover who he was – and begin acting like the tiger he really was. Now he had discovered God’s call to him, and he had life as God intended. He could eat meat and roar like a tiger. He could be himself as God created him to be. It was merely a matter of discovery and acceptance of God’s blueprint for his life.
We don’t have to make an effort to become a child of God – we are already His children. We only need to accept Him and begin to act like His children by refusing to drag through life as a failure. God, through Jesus Christ not only created us, but if we let him, he also continues to sustain us. He gives us life today in this world and forever in the next.”
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10, NIV
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV