United Church of God

The Good Old Days

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The Good Old Days

How well do you remember the "good old days"? When were they? Which good old days do you have in mind? The answer to that question will certainly depend on your age. For some, it could be the honesty, support and helping hand offered unquestioned during the depression years. It could be the "war years," the '50s, the roaring '80s—all dependent on whether or not you experienced those times.

Many in the Church of God wish for times such as the incredible growth period the Church experienced in the 1960s or the growth years of Ambassador College. If you shared in any of those times, does that make you any better than or more spiritual than others? No, certainly not.

Yet some may feel a little left out when the old timers tell their "war stories"—something all of us are guilty of from time to time. The tales of what used to be are a part of our history and play a part in our lives and the life of the Church. Living through them doesn't guarantee a better person. An individual who is called at a later date shouldn't be made to feel left out or somehow inferior because he or she wasn't there. In reality, it is all a part of their history as well.

We have so many pleasant things to look back on, such as the early years of the Feast, S.E.P., Ambassador College. If someone was not a part of those times, did they miss out on something? The answer is "yes." They missed out on the pain, heartache, frustration and disappointments that went with it. Newer participants in the Church are having their "good old days" right now. There will be more in the future, along with the suffering that is always a part of progress and growth. Future members will then feel left out of what is happening now. That is life. It is a progression for everyone.

None of this guarantees a better or more spiritual person. Paul summarized it when speaking to the Romans. He had discussed how circumcision or being a spiritual person didn't depend on being Jewish. He went on to say: "What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God" (Romans 3:1—2). He later also shows that their judgment was in direct relationship to what they had been given.

I suppose we could all be envious of those who experienced Jesus Christ or Paul as a teacher. But we can't have that experience and can only learn from our own. Paul told Timothy that God would have all men come to the truth of Jesus Christ, "Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (1 Timothy 2:6). Another way of expressing it is that we are all called at our specific time in life's history.

This doesn't make one more spiritual or better than another. Our spiritual relationship with Jesus is our special, personal relationship that no other can share. The fact is that there are those in the Body of Christ who are more spiritually mature than others. Some of them may have been called more recently, but have developed that special relationship more fully.

True spirituality comes from within, from the way one lives his or her life and yields to God. To quote Paul once again, "But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter" (Romans 2:29).

We shouldn't be comparing ourselves or our experiences or lack of them with what someone else has had. We certainly shouldn't make others feel of less value because they weren't a part of something in the past. We all must look to the future and the conclusion of our calling in Christ Jesus. UN