What Will You Do?

This is the story that always begins with dead bones, and whitewashed tombs.

A story that ends in only one of two ways.

Life in Christ with God, forever.

Life apart from him, in eternal torment.

The question is this:

Will you turn to faith in Christ, or will you wash your hands of him?

What will you do with Jesus called the Christ?


I recently spoke with two women, from different parts of our country. These independent, unrelated conversations were bound together by one common thread: both had been raised in homes in which God was considered a private, unmentionable affair.

Their similar stories unfolded like this:

Decades ago, when these now mature women had been little girls, their families had filed into church, week-by-week: dutiful little soldiers marching in step behind their parents. Everyone was expected to sit quietly and respectfully, before returning home.

By the time the roast and carrots and potatoes and rolls were being shuffled around Sunday’s dinner table, silverware clanking, it was as if God had completely vanished.

That was a nice service, their mother might offer, as their father nodded, before sighing and turning the corner to more palatable topics.

And that was that.

It was unspoken yet understood. God was not the point of life but served as a way to keep up appropriate appearances. People expected such things, meaning God and church and religion were stuffed into a tiny box and kept on the shelf labeled Sunday.

Easter, however, was quite the to-do, as grandmothers and aunts and mothers and cousins spent inordinate amounts of time and money and a fair amount of handwringing before finding the perfect department store adornments: flowered hats and swishy dresses and patent leather shoes. The boys’ hair was slicked and shiny as a penny, as the entire extended family sat like perfect stairsteps, stiff and uncomfortable in the family pew, each dressed to the nines.

By Easter afternoon there was a fine leg-of-lamb, sitting lovely on a scalloped platter, which had undoubtedly been plucked from the depths of the hutch for such an occasion. The tender meat was accompanied by cold mint jelly, soft rolls, a molded gelatin, plus fruit salad speckled with chopped walnuts, marshmallows, and whisps of coconut peel. Dessert meant a heavily frosted carrot cake, plus an heirloom glass bowl filled with pastel-foiled chocolates.

The children were routinely gifted white baskets of bright candies, tangles of licorice atop verdant strands of artificial grass, a remarkably fluffy bedding for chocolates and jellybeans and Peeps spilling over the edges.

One of these women shared that one year she had received a tiny white New Testament Bible in her Easter basket.

Did you read it? I asked.

Not really. I kept it on my nightstand, but I did not know what to do, other than touch the cover from time to time.

These women came to me sadly, a quiet loss in their eyes, still spiritually stuck. They are flustered, embarrassed, uncertain, and ashamed when a lump arises in their throats as they sit in church wondering why God seems so distant.

They murmured to me, in low and whispered tones, that they cannot comfortably speak the things of God to their husband or children or friends or anybody. When they figured out that I am a pastor’s wife, (and not their pastor’s wife) they approached me for help.

Their stories were born of the same root. Stories which slice my heart. While they know there must be a God out there somewhere, and going to church is both appropriate and expected, they are following their familial upbringing by sitting in the pew, week-by-week, living decent lives, utterly void of love for Jesus Christ. (Matthew 7:21-23)

Dead bones, white-washed tombs.

Help me. Their lips did not speak but their eyes remained desperate.

I shared (while reminding myself–softly Kristin, softly,) that it was time for their souls to be smashed to bits.

They stared at me, eyes widening. Alarmed, I believe, and definitely uncertain.

If God is softening your hard heart, I said, tugging and tenderizing your soul, know that he is also stretching his arm in an invitation to rest in Him through Christ. Obliterate false notions, and godless, unbiblical systems to bits. Open your Bible and read it, savor it, study it. Pray and learn who God is. God is good, and he interrupts lives with holy intent.

It was painful to see them burdened, weighted and wilting as the mirror reflects the passage of time void of the peaceful joy of a true and saving faith.

I prayed for them, planting seeds that I am trusting God to water and grow and tend, as only he can.

To be converted from dead, dry bones to life in Christ is everything.

It is life.


Many years ago, my husband preached an Easter sermon on Matthew 27. I have always remembered it, because it sparked the question every person must answer.

Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” So, when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves”…Then he released for them Barrabas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. (Matthew 27:22-26)

The question is for every single person remains: What shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?

Will you be like Pilate, not wanting to inconvenience yourself, refusing to respond in surrender to Jesus, The Way and the Truth? Will you attempt to cover the bases while lying to yourself and fooling others by crying I am innocent! Or maybe you are desiring to disappear within the crowd, or to please your family, or assuage your spouse, by washing your hands of God’s Son? Are you telling the people whatever it is that they want to hear?

We are all born guilty, and only those who humble themselves, confessing sin and walking in repentance will receive a new heart, full of faith.

I remain heavily burdened for pretend Christians, people perched in church pews year-by-year, hearts remaining dead and cold and hardened…far, far from Christ.

If your heart is thumping, and this is you, Gentle Reader, I invite you to treasure God above all.

What is the alternative?

Will you carry on, as seasons pass by, wearing your finest come Easter morning, patting your Bible without reading it, filling your children’s or grandchildren’s Easter baskets with pastel candies, speaking of the joys of green trees and luscious springtime air, marveling at nature without loving and honoring our Perfect Creator? Passing the roast and offering up discussions of mere trivial pursuits, never knowing God, nor bowing low in adoration?

If this tune sounds familiar in your ears, you are living a duplicitous existence. Sitting dutifully in church without turning wholeheartedly to God, is no place to be.

Don’t stay there.

Please come to Christ Jesus today. (John 6:37)


Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel. – Pastor John Piper

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. – 1 Peter 3:18

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