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serving jesus christ the king

Missing the point?

I’ve read one or two books by Bill Bryson. He mostly writes travel books, but more often his books are about the quirks and oddities of the people he meets. In “The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America” he writes of visiting the boyhood home of Samuel Clemens, who wrote under the pen name of Mark Twain. Twain, born in 1835, invented the well-known characters Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Bryson writes, “The house was a trim, white-washed house with green shutters, set incongruously in the middle of downtown.” It cost two dollars to walk around the site.

But Bryson found the house a disappointment. “It professed to be a faithful reproduction of the original interiors,” he writes, “but there were wires and water sprinklers clumsily evident in every room. I also very much doubt that young Samuel Clemens’ bedroom had vinyl on the floor or that his sister’s bedroom had a plywood partition in it.”

The house is owned by the city of Hannibal and attracts 135,000 visitors each year. Bryson was disappointed that he wasn’t able to actually go inside the house. “You look through the windows,” he says. At each window there was a recorded message telling about that room. As he proceeded from window to window he asked another tourist. “What do you think of it?” The friendly stranger replied, “Oh, I think it’s great. I come here whenever I’m in Hannibal – two, three times a year. Sometimes I go out of my way to come here.” Dumbfounded, Bryson replied, “Really?” “Yeah,” answered the stranger. “I must have been here twenty, thirty times by now. This is a real shrine, you know.”

They walked and talked some more. Bryson’s last question to the man was, “Would you say the house is just like Twain described it in his books?” “I don’t know,” the stranger said. “I’ve never read one of his books.”

Bryson was bemused. Visiting his shrine – but ignoring his books.

Bizarre, yet the man thought himself a true admirer of Mark Twain.

There are many people who take the same approach with Jesus. They go to church, but they never read his teachings. They might even enjoy going to church, and feel good about going. They might even stop and listen to the message, but there the interest stops.

Does that describe you?

It’s not enough. We need to go farther. We need to know Jesus, not just as an interesting historical figure, but as the living Son of God. We need to know more than facts about him, we actually need to know him personally.

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