The Best Definition
By Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
Do you ever run across a word that's so odd that you can't stop thinking about what it means? A colleague gifted me with a 'word of the day’ pad for my desk and one of the first words was ‘campanologist.’ What did that mean? I first thought that it could be a made-up word. But as I continued to mull over this word, I thought, do people really use this word?
I kept pondering, even guessing, what this word meant. I thought maybe it was a word describing someone who studies camping. Seems logical, right? At last, I looked at the definition printed right under the word. A campanologist is someone that practices or is skilled in the art of bell ringing. Who knew?! Better yet, who cares?! But this word got me starting to think of other definitions that we should care about.
Take the word ‘Christian’ for example. Webster Dictionary states that it is “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.” Seems straightforward to me, yet it is so much more. This week, I received an email from someone who wanted to talk about why they no longer attend church. The email could be boiled down to a single phrase: lack of family.
I have been speaking with this individual all week regarding their experience with their local church and how they just wanted to join a family that loved Jesus and him. I don’t know their full story, but I certainly know there are always two sides to every story and I came away from this conversation saddened for their experience.
You see the Bible gives a much clearer definition of what a Christian is. In John 13:25, it says,
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
That is the best definition and I hope it is your definition. More than that I pray that each of us will embody that definition by staying close to Jesus, growing each day spiritually and seeking ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus every day.