~ Note from Sam & Tom ~
Charity is our second content editor and eighth contributor, and we are honored to introduce her to you. If you read all the way to the end, you’ll see why Charity is such a perfect fit for gospelthread; we thank God for bringing her on board.
I held my little brother and pointed out the Gospel pictures to him.
“Where’s David?” I’d ask. He’d point out the slingshot kid facing a giant. “Where’s Ruth?” I’d continue, and he’d point out the kneeling woman harvesting for her family. “Where’s Paul?” “Where’s Esther?” He was barely old enough to form words, but he knew all the Bible characters from the posters in the room I shared with several siblings.
We moved a few times, but my parents hung the Bible pictures in every house and taught us about the characters, told us the stories, and imprinted the Gospel in our minds before we could even talk.
I remember a lot of firsts: seeing “Cinderella”; reading “Green Eggs & Ham”; listening to “The Chronicles of Narnia”; falling madly, madly in love with Clark Kent (I’m still jealous of Lois Lane).
But I don’t remember the first time I learned about Ruth’s self-sacrifice for the family she married into, Samuel’s obedience even when it didn’t make sense, Solomon’s thirst for wisdom, Paul’s persecution of the church, and—of course—Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection. I simply don’t remember a time that I didn’t know the stories of the Bible.
What can I say? I was a pastor’s kid.
Around 5th grade or so—when I was binge-reading Nancy Drew, my fourth sibling was born, and my dad stopped pastoring for a while—I learned that just about every story in the Bible points to Jesus. For instance:
- Ruth’s self-sacrifice for Naomi is representative of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
- Samuel’s obedience foreshadowed Jesus’ obedience.
- Solomon’s wisdom was rivaled only by Jesus’ wisdom.
- Paul’s persecution was redeemable only by Jesus’ persecution.
You get the idea.
In college, I knew my major (Writing/Literature) immediately; I even took a 300-level grammar and editing class as a freshman because grammar and editing combine to make the one undying, nerdy love of my life (if you don’t count Jesus or the color pink).
As I studied literature, I started seeing that most of the stories, novels, and poems I binged/studied/wrote—they all kind of pointed to Jesus. With almost anything, if I squinted hard enough and held my tongue just right, I could find what I would later learn were “gospel themes.” I struggled to articulate that quite yet, and I ended up with a B- on my most important undergrad essay because I couldn’t QUITE figure out how to tie Jesus into literary criticism.
In that class, though, I learned that the lens through which you read is very, very important and can be life-changing.
About seven years after graduation, in 2012, I started attending a gospel-centered, Reformed church in El Cajon, California. As I heard the preacher bring every sermon back to Jesus every week (no matter which book of the Bible he was preaching from), this Gospel-centered lens made my focus much clearer. From individual Bible passages, to conversations with church members, to my own sin struggles—it all made SO. MUCH. SENSE.
God had been preparing me since childhood for a Gospel lens, and I sometimes wish I could re-write that B- paper because now I GET it. I’ve always loved Jesus, but now I am IN LOVE with Jesus. I’ve always known that the Gospel was important, but now it is my whole worldview.
In January 2016, my pastor and I turned his (gospel-centered) sermons on Esther into an easily-accessible book. I enjoyed that process so much that my new life goal is to make a living by helping pastors turn their Gospel-centered sermons into something understandable and available to everyone.
That’s what I love about gospelthread; it perfectly combines my loves of editing (making other people sound great) and Gospeling the world.
For his sermons, my dad once told me that he takes his cue from famous preacher Charles Spurgeon, who once wrote, “I take my text and make a bee-line to the cross.”
May that be my motto in writing, editing, and all of life: “make a bee-line to the cross.”