When I was a child, I asked my father for a bicycle for Christmas. My older brother had a 10-speed racing bike and he would ride off for hours at a time. He was 10 years older than me, and it seemed like he had so much more freedom than I did. If I’d had a bicycle like his, I might have been allowed to ride with him when he left on those long adventures. I was very specific when describing my request — I knew just what I wanted. After asking for the bike, I waited and hoped.
That Christmas, we drove to my grandmother’s house to celebrate the day with family. Of course, the bike was not able to make the drive with us, but I was assured that my desires had been fulfilled and all I had to do was wait. I was patient and I did not complain. Soon enough, we were on our way home.
As we pulled into the driveway, the garage door began to rise. My grin was so wide, all my teeth were visible. I scrambled out of the car, full of excitement, and ran inside to jump on my brand new Christmas gift and ride off. I looked around, but I did not see what I was looking for. In the center of the garage, I spotted a large, light brown box with the words “some assembly required” stamped across it.
In the book of Philippians, the Bible gives instructions: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” I believe that we need to inform the babes in Christ and the new converts that the beautiful gift of salvation is just the beginning of the journey. Just like that morning when I received my Christmas gift, I could not just jump on it and ride. I had to put all the pieces together first.
I believe we lose some new converts because they expect to walk out of the church looking and acting like a seasoned believer. It takes some time and effort to grow ones spirituality to the point that Christianity becomes second nature. Take in the milk first before you try to eat the meat of the word.
That day, as I stood in the garage, my father came and stood next to me and put his hand on my shoulder. He leaned over, reached into the box and pulled out the instruction manual. He said, “Let’s start here.”
For our new family members in Christ, we need to give them the instruction manual for their new gift. The Bible is a perfect starting point. It gives step-by-step instructions on how to put together the greatest gift you will ever receive.
Johnson is the pastor of Mount Zion Memorial Chapel and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.