The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JULY  2011






A Matter Of Faith

Risk It All

by Joel Lawler

He was a good guy. He had worked hard to be the best person he could be. He studied hard and was top of the class. He had a great legal mind and not only knew the rules, but followed them religiously. His faith was strong and he knew the scriptures. He had passed many tests and hurdles in order to achieve his status. He had done all the "dos" and avoided all the "don'ts." He had a title that let everyone know he had climbed a very tough hill to be in the position that he was in.

Something was missing.

There was a new teacher that had a different message. His colleagues believed that this teacher was way off base. They called him insane and at best, and possibly, purely evil. This teacher was to be silenced and his message to be debunked.

He had spent his life dedicated to following the law. He always chose to submit to those who were in authority. The system that was constructed got him to where he was. He was successful, revered, honored and lacked for nothing materially. He wanted something more. All that he dreamed of and worked so hard to achieve was in his hands and, yet, it was not enough.

This teacher had a different message.

What could it hurt to speak to him? He would have to do so secretly in order to not offend his colleagues. He would have to risk losing everything in order to speak to this teacher.

They met at night.

"Teacher, I know that you are from God. No one can do and say what you have without being from God."

He had moved a position by stepping out. He weighed the facts and concluded that his colleagues had it all wrong about this man.

The teacher responded: "You have to start completely over and abandon all that you are holding on to in order to see what I am point to. Become as a new born baby. Let go of everything. See from a completely new and foreign perspective."

This was hard to hear. He pretended not to understand what was being asked of him. He did not want to acknowledge the problem presented to him. What he was holding onto was not working. In order to take the next step, he would have to risk everything.

He had trusted in his own abilities. He was a very intelligent person. He had acquired a vast knowledge. He understood the system that he was clinging to. It had achievable steps and he had steadily climbed them. It was more than familiar. It was his culture. It was his politics. It was his vocation. It was his retirement plan. It was his legacy. It was his life.

Lay it all aside?

Turn and trust someone other than himself?

He was faced with a critical choice.

The teacher made it clear. It was either trust the system as he had been doing or trust God.

The teacher went deeper. He said he was God come to earth to die for the sins of the world. God had come to pay the penalty of all the sins. God himself would be the sacrifice. He had come not to condemn the world, but to save it. God had come to set things right and to give hope to anyone who would trust in him.

He left that night with more to think about.

He would watch as his colleagues continued to blast the teacher and attempt to destroy him.

He would be part of the trial where the teacher would be sentenced to death.

He watched the teacher be beaten mercilessly.

He would see the teacher nailed to a cross.

He heard him cry out, "It has been completed," with his last breath.

He went to the cross and helped take the lifeless body down.


Joel Lawler