Do you like classics? Could I interest you in a ride in a ’57 Chevy? How about Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” or an evening with Mozart?
I grew up thinking “classic” meant “old,” and my guess is most people would equate anything deemed classical with the past. To a great extent this perception matches reality.
But did you know something can be classic in the present tense? There is a technical sense in which almost anything can fit this definition.
A classic is a part of a classification. It belongs to a “kind” of thing, and perhaps is recognized because it represents the very best sampling of the subject at hand. This is why, when people say and do things that are highly typical of their personality we say, “that was classic.”
This brings us to an interesting question: “How would we define a classic Christian?” Which era would we choose? The church and its worshippers have passed through many seasons of styles for nearly 2,000 years. My favorite is the polyester, leisure suit, “It Only Takes a Spark to Get a Fire Going” season. And who can forget our journey into mainstream pop with “Jesus is Just Alright with Me,” “Our Father,” and “Jesus Christ, Superstar?”
In reality, a Christian is a classic by definition. At least, a faithful Christian is a classic. We are a classification, and as such, we all want to be the best sampling possible for Jesus.
The good news is we don’t have to look a certain way to be a classic Christian. We don’t have to wear certain kinds of clothes, wear our hair a particular way, or drive a specific car. We don’t have to speak a certain way. I am not talking about the holiness of our language, but rather our cultural bent. You say “Lawd” and I say, “Loard.” He hears us both.
No, a classic Christian is simply the best representation of our kind. What is this best? I must tell you it isn’t necessarily the one who has his act together. It isn’t the one with the best knowledge of God’s Word, or the most time of service in the kingdom. Don’t get me wrong. All of these things are important. We should strive to live holy lives, and grow in our understanding of the Bible. Our service to the kingdom is always a natural expression of our love for the Lord and our passion for His mission.
But none of these really get to the root of our classification. Instead, I believe a classic Christian is someone who has been washed in the blood of Jesus and set free from sin. He or she is someone who has answered the call to follow Jesus and obey Him in everything. And as a result of the love God has poured into the life of everyone who has been redeemed, a classic Christian is known by his or her love for others. Everything else in the Christian walk is just an accessory.
This means the class distinctions for a Christian are redemption, obedience and love. Whether we were born in the year 1950 or the year 2000, all three apply.
Wouldn’t it be great if we focused so much on these defining characteristics that people who don’t now Jesus saw our lives and said, “That’s classic?” “There goes a classic Christian!” I think this would be better than some of the other classifications we are given.
I’m not quite over the hill, but I can still be a classic. So can you. And there is something about a true classic that never grows old.