The familiar sound of a camera shutter and the picture is taken. Not just an ordinary photo though. This is a snapshot of your life, of WHO you ARE.
Some familiar historical snapshots tell us:
Napoleon was short.
Mother Theresa was a saint.
Hitler was a monster.
Abe Lincoln was honest.
But you are _____________. What does your snapshot reveal about you?
We are all known for something.
We spend our whole lives with certain people, so our opinion of them changes over time as they grow and mature. Other people we meet once or twice, see occasionally or only online, and our views of them are cemented by these short snapshot encounters.
We always remember someone for something.
Disciple Thomas, he was the doubter. That’s how we know him anyway. I mean, we know he loved God. We know he was martyred preaching the Gospel after Jesus death and resurrection. But when we think of Thomas we think of Doubting Thomas.
Every one of the gospels mention Thomas in a list with the other 11 disciples, but only one gospel, John, goes on to tell us anything more about this famous doubting disciple.
Our first encounter with Thomas is not what you may remember from Sunday school.
The story takes place in John 11.
Jesus’ friend Lazarus had just died.
He was going to travel to Judea to raise Lazarus from the dead, and most of the disciples weren’t too thrilled with the idea. Not because they didn’t want to see a guy raised from the dead. I mean that’s awesome, but because they had just barely escaped Judea with their lives.
A crowd had tried to stone Jesus, and the disciples wanted to wait for things to settle before returning to the region.
But Jesus didn’t care. Lazarus was His friend, and He was going to do something.
Jesus headed off, and in John 11:6 we have our first actual encounter with Thomas when he speaks up and says to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Thomas is more than a doubter. He’s brave, dedicated, ready to die with Jesus, and a little gutsy to stand before the rest of the disciples and say “Hey, let’s all go and die with Jesus!”
This account isn’t as popular as his infamous doubting tale though. It’s a sentence, tucked away in a story which climaxes with a man being raised from the dead. So… it’s understandable why people miss this highlight of Thomas’s character.
We get a brief snapshot into Thomas’s life. We don’t know him personally, so we are left to draw conclusions on the short encounters the Bible gives us. A glimpse of his choices is all we get, and they define who we understand him to be.
Most people will only get a glimpse of who we really are – a snapshot into our lives.
So how we choose to present ourselves matters. Who your friends are. How you talk. What you post on social media. How you dress. All these things show people something about you. Perhaps it will be all of you they ever see.
Proverbs 22:1 tells us “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
Had Thomas known the impact his doubting words would have, one can only guess how he may have responded differently. You too will be remembered for something; the beautiful thing is you can still choose what that will be.
For me, I want to be known as someone who loves God in word and action, someone intelligent, dependable, with a contagious joy and eternal hope. However, it isn’t enough to just want to be known for these things. My desire must be followed through with action. I must intentionally live my life in such a way that anytime a snapshot is taken it points to these things.
Your life in a snapshot.
You will be remembered for something. Be intentional about what.