Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

The Greatest Christian I Know

Who is the greatest Christian you know?

I will give my answer to that question at the end of this post.

I realize that questions such as this could be classified by some as judging others. But the Bible does tell us to “test ourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5) and to test spiritual claims and people (1 John 4:1 & Revelation 2:2). The Bible also gives us attributes to look for when conducting these examinations of ourselves and others.

Here are some of the attributes (of great Christians) that I’ve found in the Bible:

  • Compassionate, Kind, Humble, Gentle, Patient, Bearing the burdens of others and Forgiving (Colossians 3:12-13)
  • Encouraging and Building-up others (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
  • A reader and a “doer” of God’s word (James 1:22).
  • Hospitable, Sensible, Just, Devout and Self-controlled (Titus 1:8).
  • Loving, Joyful, Peaceful, Faithful (Galatians 5:22)
  • Prayerful, Thankful (to God and others) and Hopeful (Colossians 1:3-5).

If you tested yourself by the above criteria and concluded that you deserve an A+ on every one these virtues, you’re either delusional or off-the-charts self-righteous. Everyone, even the person I chose as “The Greatest Christian I Know,” struggle with some of these.

But, according to Jesus, a truly great Christian possesses one quality that sets them apart; “But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11)

“True greatness, true leadership, is achieved not by reducing [people] to one’s service, but by giving up oneself in selfless service to them.” Oswald Chambers

“True greatness, true leadership, is achieved not by reducing [people] to one’s service, but by giving up oneself in selfless service to them.” Oswald Chambers

When I read passages like the following, I think of caregivers; “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me…to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least [most helpless] of them, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:35-40)

I think of people like my sister and her husband who care for their 18 year-old severely Autistic son. People like my mother-in-law who took care of her ill husband until he recently passed away. And even paid caregivers, like the woman that helps Mary take care of me, qualify as “Great” in my book.

But the Greatest all-around Christian I know is Mary, my wife and best friend of 28 years. Since being diagnosed with ALS years-ago, she’s also been my full-time caregiver. She is the best example I know of a truly selfless servant.

And, no, I didn’t just choose her as the greatest Christian out of fear that she’d stop feeding and clothing me.

“…whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Matthew 20:26-28)

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128 thoughts on “The Greatest Christian I Know

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  1. The only disagreement I have is that my husband is definitely the greatest Christian I know 🙂

  2. One of the greatest Christians I know is also named Mary. She has taken care of her husband for over 30 years since he was paralyzed in an accident. He was able to drive a specially equipped van and preach until this year , but not without her help every morning and evening. I have always admired her and praise God for her.

  3. Bill, I must have missed this, not sure why. This is a beautiful post and so lovely that you named your wife at the end. Very touching.

  4. I want to share the blog of another care-giver. When you read her posts, you will find another wonderful and sensitive Christian. http://teresa-teresatalk.blogspot.com/

  5. Wonderful, true and a beautiful tribute to your wife.

  6. Well, I had to laugh a bit at your list to determine who was the best Christian, because of course, I was asking myself those questions, and I came up lacking in various degrees in just about all. Several I am miserable at, but I’ve improved over the years! I do have to say that a good amount of my Mother’s relatives have been a wonderful Christian example to me–most of them have gone on to their reward. My Grandmother on my Mother’s side was a wonderful Christian, I never heard her say a bad word about anyone. You have presented a very good list, I should be more mindful of those points. thank you.

  7. What a lovely testimony. Praise God!

  8. The post I read just before yours was from a person who had negative experiences with “Christians”. Things we hear again and again. Judgementalism, narrow-mindedness, self-righteousness.

    A book that profoundly affected my life and belief system is, “The Jesus I Never Knew”, by Philip Yancey. In it, he seeks to distill who Jesus really was and what his characteristics really were out of the myths and artistic interpretations of who he has become.

    From what I read of Jesus, he was so intriguing to the population of his day, that they thronged him to the point where in one instance he had to push out on a boat just to be able to address them all. And in another instance, he had to climb up the side of a hill to speak to them all. Why? Well if he was judgemental, narrow-minded, and self-righteous, I doubt he would have had this affect on people.

    Instead, he befriended the undesireables and outcasts. He healed the sick, he fed people, he brought hope, mercy, forgiveness, enlightenment. He even prayed that the very people who were brutally and torturously murdering him… as they were doing so… would be forgiven.

    I dont know who the greatest Christian in my life is. I do know that the ones who I see as great Christians are those who behave in ways that Jesus did. If our behaviours are not similar to Jesus’ and we don’t impact people in any way similar to how Jesus did… how is it that we are Christians?… I wonder.

    • Hello Chaz. It’s good to hear from you again. I agree with everything you said – I don’t believe that Jesus was judgmental, at least not by today’s definition. The key is love – not a feeling, but, as I said in the post, it’s the genuine servant kind of love (actions, not merely words) that people relate to.
      I have heard good things about that book and I like Yancy; I will order it.

      • Thanks Bill…. yes, Philip Yancey definitely has some perspectives that have evaded many of us. And is very capable at communicating them. His, “What’s so amazing about grace”, book totally stood me on my ear. It prompted me to ask some very deep questions about my beliefs.

        On the first title I mentioned, here is a vid clip… about 20 minutes… part of a home study on the book… but it really gives the overall message quite effectively.

        Im back to blogging more and will pop by more often.

        Ciao.

        Chaz

      • Thanks, Chaz. I ordered the audio version of “The Jesus I Never Knew” yesterday. I am looking forward to kicking back outside and listening to it when it arrives next week.

      • Am sure you will get lots out of it. I did.

  9. Awesome post, my brother. Laughed out loud (!) at the following:

    “If you tested yourself by the above criteria and concluded that you deserve an A+ on every one these virtues, you’re either delusional or off-the-charts self-righteous.”

    Regarding the greatest Christian one knows, though, I’m pretty sure Mary would say it is you…

  10. Awww….this post is so endearing!

  11. Love this post. We can all be the greatest Christian’s, saints-in-the-making, by serving exactly where we are. Like you and your wife. Happy I found your blog!

  12. Awesome. The greatest Christian I know is my first pastor. Appreciate that you are lifting up the unsung heroes.
    http://jspark3000.tumblr.com/post/50344081501/grace

  13. Reblogged this on Tree and commented:
    A beautiful post.

  14. In the few days that I have followed your blog posts I have repeatedly been reminded of how much I need to grow up as a Christian. I praise God because in my difficulties He is making me grow closer to him. In service to him and others I will find meaning to a life where I seem to be drifting purposelessly.
    May God continue to bless you, thank you for this beautiful thought-provoking post.

    Paula

    PS: Thank you for following my blog

  15. beautiful post. thanks for sharing. I hope I have a Mary someday when I need her!

  16. Mary sounds like an extraordinary person, I always say that caregivers are angels in disguise. Your love for each other and Christianity shines through, and I have always said that laughter is such good medicine. I have had cancer three times,and I praise God for my husband who was my caregiver every time I was ill, with God in our lives, Rob and I had the strength to carry on. You two are truly blessed to have each other.

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