I updated my license plate tabs this past month and spent a moment, not a long one, reflecting on my plates. “The Evergreen State” it says. I learned to drive in a state who’s motto was about it’s people, not it’s trees. My first license plates read, “The Show Me State.” It was a phrase coined by a politician at the turn of the 20th century who said in a speech, “I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces me nor satisfied me. I’m from Missouri. You’ve got to show me.” In those words a motto was born, a motto that derides gullibility and celebrates the stubborn tenacity and strength of disbelief.
While Missouri may be proud of it, I don’t think that’s unique to Missourians. A fair share of people with “Evergreen State” on their plates live like “Show Me State” people. Yet that whole concept is the antitheses of belief.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Jesus said that to the original “Show Me” disciple, a man named Thomas.
Our new mission statement graphically displayed in the icon on this page, celebrates three things: belonging, believing, and bearing fruit in Jesus. The July-August newsletter encouraged us knot to be a-frayed to invite others to belong (If you are wondering about the spelling of some of those words, go back and read that lead article on our web-site under news, see the entry from June 30.) That was the first part of our mission statement. The second defining characteristic of our mission is that we are a “believing” people.
Not only are we a believing people but our purpose, our mission, is to invite others to believe along with us. The difference between being gullible people and believing people is the strength of what we believe in. Our mission statement culminates “in Jesus.” We believe Jesus, what he says. We believe in Jesus, that he can and will come through for us. We also believe the truth about Jesus that God has given us in his Word. That provides a strength that tenacity and stubbornness cannot provide no matter how much proof we demand to see.
Another of his disciples, Peter, said about Jesus, “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with a joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
(1 Peter 1:8-9)
While I don't believe Washington will give you the option to put this on your license plates when you renew them this year, I would encourage you to adopt this new Holy Cross mission statement as your personal motto. It’s more than just a catchy slogan for our church, it’s a simple way to remember what and who God calls us to be as his people; we are those who belong, believe, and bear fruit in Jesus.
Next month we’ll take a closer look at what it means to bear fruit. Until then focus on belonging and believing. If you do, I guarantee, your going to bear fruit along the way.