EE IF YOU’VE EVER HEARD THIS BEFORE: “SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS, on average, live 8 to 10 years longer than the general population of the United States.” Or how about this: “After Roman Catholics, Seventh-day Adventists operate the largest private educational system in the world.” Then there’s always this one: “With nearly 16 million members worldwide, Seventh-day Adventists are the largest Christian denomination to worship on Saturday, the seventh day of the week.”
All true, all positive, all worthy of mention. But if we stop there we’ve failed to mention what makes us undeniably Christian: Our faith in, and loyalty to, Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Too many Adventists seem to be content bragging about what sets us apart as a denomination from other Christians, as if having a good reputation and being a positive influence in the world is our primary objective. And while we wouldn’t want it the other way around, more than having a good reputation for ourselves is reflecting well on Jesus Christ and His kingdom.
Rather than have someone say, “Did you know the chaplain of the United States Senate is a Seventh-day Adventist?” I’d rather have it said, “Those Adventists—they’re just like Jesus.”
You don’t have to be an Adventist to live healthfully, worship on Sabbath, or live modestly and soberly. The benefit comes when, by living those behaviors, we become more like Jesus and more faithfully reflect His character to those with whom we live, work, and socialize.
When some Greeks came to Jesus’ disciples with the request “We would like to see Jesus,” Jesus responded, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:21, 23). If that was true then, how much more essential is it now?
Ultimately, our message is not about us; it’s about Jesus.
_________This article was published October 15, 2009.
Stephen Chavez is managing editor of the Adventist Review.