A neighbour of ours works for a man who owns a number of super markets. He is a refrigeration technician. Last week, he put a note on our street’s WhatsApp group saying the one store was selling 2kg bags of sweet potatoes for R10. To us, this was a great buy. Today, we decided to bake all 2 kg of sweet potatoes to economize on electricity. We would each have one for lunch and keep the rest for later in the week. As we opened the packet, we found something written on the plastic that surprise and encouraged us. The bag states the farmer’s name and address with the trademark name LANGPLAAS (which is likely the farm’s name) … and then we saw another emblem with a red cross. At the top of the cross was the Bible verse Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always”.
In a country like ours that is a secular state with freedom of religion, I thought this very bold … after all, the Jews and Muslims have their logos on most products we buy and they receive money for having “halal” or “kosher” on the product. This farmer, a believer in the Lord Jesus, put this unthreatening Scripture on his product. He does not get paid for this and could face some people not purchasing his products. This verse makes a huge statement. It tells one who this man is. He is Christian. It tells us his ethics. The buyer can judge this farmer’s product and him as seller through the quality of the product. It tells you this man is proud of whom he is. He is not ashamed of his faith. He is prepared to stake his farm, product, name and reputation on his faith in Jesus Christ. It tells you that this man is evangelistic. He wants people who purchase his product to rejoice in the LORD, the God of the Bible. To rejoice in the LORD first requires knowing the LORD.
I wonder whether you are able to see how such an unthreatening Bible verse can make a huge statement. This farmer sets a wonderful example for all Christians to make a statement that is non-threatening, yet profound once thought through. Too often, we can either be over the top in the statements we make about our faith or we can be deathly quiet about our love for the Lord Jesus.
Take this famer as our example in making a Christian statement. Firstly, he wants no monetary benefit for telling his buyers that he is Christian. There is nothing wrong being paid as a full time or even part time Christian worker, but telling people who we are when doing business needs to be free.
Secondly, he wants his buyers to know he is Christian. Far too often, Christians are either ashamed of being Christian (in the face of possible negative reaction by some lobby group or the other), or are perhaps they are not Christian at all. The greatest moment in any true believer’s life is to declare who their Eternal Father is; whom their Lord and Saviour is who indwells them!
Thirdly, he wants people to understand his ethics. He wants you to be certain when you buy his product that you are buying healthy food. He even has a motto: “healthy soil, healthy food”. He is so proud of his product that he is prepared to have his ethics examined. This rules out any possibility of under handed and immoral practices slipping into his producing, packaging and selling his product. Christians need to be above reproach in all their business dealings. Are you aware that you do business all the time? When you are at the bank, the store or the municipal office, you are doing business. Is your behaviour above reproach?
Fourthly, he wants you to know that he is so sold out to the Lord Jesus that he is evangelistic. He desires others know this God so they are able to rejoice in this God. Christians rub shoulders with people in many different ways all the time. It could be at the shop, at work, at school, at the sports field, amongst the neighbours and family (yes, we are in lock down, but we do still rub shoulder with people). The list is endless. Every believer needs to use every possible legitimate method to inform people of their greatest need in life. That need is Jesus. People go to hell without being forgiven and saved. Without Jesus being a person’s righteousness, that person will face the Day of Judgment as a wicked sinner and receive God’s just punishment. Because hell is real, Christians need to tell others about the way God provides for us to be justified.
For so many people who profess faith in Jesus, their ‘religion’ is private. For others, their Christianity is reserved to Sundays. For so many, Jesus is an option where you keep one foot in heaven whilst you enjoy the other foot being in the world. Personally, I feel such people are counterfeit Christians because true Christians are so proud, so grateful, so excited about belonging to God’s eternal family that they have to make it known.
Dear God, thank You for my salvation. Thank you too for this farmer. Bless his life, family, staff and business for his unashamed boldness about Jesus. Help me to love you so passionately that I’m never ashamed of You. Guide my feet that I might always walk in such a manner that I never bring dishonor to Your glorious name and cause. Let me find ways to make Jesus known in an unthreatening way. Amen.