April 28, 2015
1 John 3:12-13
Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
Remember the famous “Get a Mac” series of television commercials with the two contrasting characters. Most of the ads began with the familiar, “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC.” These advertisements weren’t about computers. They were about the people who use computers. They weren’t showing us which computer we should buy as much as they were showing us who we wanted to become– the “Mac” guy; not the “PC” guy.
Great leaders lead with a vision that inspires us to become more than we are.
So often Christian leaders focus us more on who we don’t want to be or what we shouldn’t be doing or how we should try harder to not-do this or that. The great leaders of the Christian movement cast a vision of who God wants us to become. They don’t so much get in our face as they grab a hold of our hearts. Sure, they deal with sin, but only as a contrast device. The real game is in the vision of becoming.
That’s what’s going on in today’s text. “I’m Cain. “And I’m Abel.” Cain belonged to Satan. Abel loved God. Cain murdered Abel. Bad Cain. This visionary use of contrast proceeds literally through the whole Bible. There’s Noah and then there’s everybody else. How about Abraham and Lot, or Moses and Pharaoh? Then there’s Elijah and the Prophets of Baal, and King Saul and King David. How about Jesus contrasting the types of soil or the house built on the rock vs. the sand? On we could go. The Bible constantly calls us to “this,” not “that.” It’s all about becoming.
It’s just so critical that we have a “be like this,” and not just a “don’t do that.” Would you rather someone tell you to aim at the bullseye or don’t miss? That’s exactly where John is headed. He is calling us to aim at a very particular variety of love; to aspire to a way of life– Eternal Life– here and now. Eternal Life is life on another level. It’s Life in the Light of Love. It will come down to Jesus, not Satan, and the Kingdom and not the World.
So how about you? Mac or PC? ;0)
J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.