(Friends, it is becoming a habit to send this one out at this time of year, a piece originally written in 2013)
The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe
"Ebenezer and Thomas"
Allow me, if you will, to express a pet peeve. Or two, actually.
I cannot stand Ebenezer Scrooge, the central figure in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", being viewed as the symbol for mean and cold-hearted misers who possess no compassion for their fellow man. Far more importantly, I shudder when I hear reference to an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ who ultimately gave his life for the Savior being referred to as "doubting Thomas."
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).
Whether in Dickens' fiction or the Bible's historical reality, our focus should gaze not upon that which was, but rather, that which is. In Ebenezer's case, his journeys through the past, present, and future led to his becoming the man who "most knew how to keep Christmas." His is a story of redemption. Thus, when we hear the name "Scrooge," kindness and generosity should come to mind in joyful remembrance of transforming grace and mercy.
In the case of the Apostle Thomas, a far serious matter presents itself. Certainly, he expressed the fleshly "I'll believe it when I see it" sensibility that characterizes lack of faith. "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe" (John 20:25). Moreover, the risen Lord Jesus chided his disciple for such uncertainty: "Then saith He to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing" (John 20:27). However, the episode ends with Thomas expressing to his Savior one of the great affirmations of truth recorded in Scripture: "My Lord and my God!" Moreover, historical tradition holds that Thomas gave his life for Christ at the point of a spear. Thus, rather than "doubting Thomas," we should respectfully view our brother of old as "faithful Thomas," a man who wears the martyr's crown for the glory of the Lord Jesus.
God looks upon believers not as who we were, but as who we are in Christ, and how we are being more and more changed into His likeness. We must share this blessed view of His saving grace, whether we consider a transformed literary figure, or a redeemed saint who gave the last full measure of devotion for his Lord and his God. Ebenezer and Thomas - may we remember them in the light of redemption, affirming God's saving and transforming grace when we think of who they were, but even more, who they became.
"Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord."
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
(I Corinthians 6:9-11)
Weekly Memory Verse
For by Thee I have run through a troop. By my God I have leaped over a wall."
(II Samuel 22:30)