The famous musician Ole Bull and Ericsson the inventor used to be good friends when they were young. After leaving school they lost touch and didn’t meet again until both of them had become famous in their respective fields. Ericsson had no particular love for music so when Ole Bull invited him to one of his concerts, his response was that he had no time to spare for such trivial matters. Ole Bull replied by saying that if his friend didn’t come to the concert he would take the violin to his home and play it right in front of him! “If you do” retorted Ericsson “I’ll smash it in pieces.” Unperturbed the great violinist kept his word! Entering Ericsson’s house a few days later he began to play. At first the inventor showed great displeasure, but as Ole Bull continued Ericsson found himself beginning to listen in wonderment. On and on the musician played. When he finally ceased the great inventor said with deep emotion “Please don’t stop. I never knew until now what I have been missing”.
This is exactly the situation with those who have no personal relationship with the Lord. They don’t realise what they are missing. They are living life without knowing how much they are loved, without knowing the joy of His Companionship and without knowing the peace of sins forgiven. They are living life without His guidance, without His help and without hope. Christless people have none of the advantages of those who sincerely follow the Lord and instead go through life with a whole range of different burdens to carry. Living without Christ is spiritual poverty and a great handicap.
The remark is often made that following the Lord is not so much a religion but a relationship and it is this fact that makes Christianity unique amongst all the religions of the world. The Lord wants a personal, private and living relationship with every man, woman and child and it is a Divine relationship which begins to be experienced and enjoyed in this life not just the next.
Over the years numerous books have been written about the personal experiences Christian’s have of this Divine relationship. These books highlight all the things those living without Christ are missing because they have never sincerely “tried” the Christian path. Sadly to them the idea of personally experiencing God seems absurd and they have no time to spare for what they regard as trivial matters! Every devout Christian knows however what their own life was like before they came to Christ and can compare it to their life with Christ now. They have truly experienced and tasted the difference between a Christless life and a Christ filled one.
Almighty God is a Living reality to those who really obey Him and the following example shows what this can mean in practise under certain circumstances. Some years ago a Christian minister was appointed as Rector for a church in Shropshire. One evening shortly after his arrival he was driving back to the Rectory through a small village. All of a sudden he was overwhelmed with the feeling that the Lord wanted him to stop. He pulled the car over and he began to pray. He asked “What is it Lord? Why do I sense You wanted me to stop?” Although he didn’t hear any voice he instantly perceived that he was to drive back the way he had just come. This he did. As he drove slowly along the road he then felt he was to stop outside a certain house. He didn’t know the occupants and reasoned that it wasn’t good manners to knock on the door of strangers after 9pm but he felt he was being directed to do so.
When the door was opened he said “I am the new Rector. I don’t know why I’ve called but I strongly feel I am to come.” The couple looked stunned and then explained that exactly 12 months ago to the hour their son had been killed in a road accident. They brought him in and while they all had tea together he had the opportunity reassure them that God loved them and was with them in their sorrow.
Those without Christ know nothing of this kind of Divine relationship. Scripture urges them therefore to “taste and see”. If they do so then like Ericsson they will realise just what they have been missing and will cry out “Lord please don’t stop”! And of course unlike Ole Bull He will never will.