This is a photo of my hand with the mark 32 years of wearing a wedding ring has made on my finger. I must admit that I am rather proud of that indentation, it represents so much, the promise I made on our wedding day back in August 1985 to my wife and to God that I would be her husband, the I would love her, care for her, honour and protect her and forsaking all others be faithful to her as long as I lived.
I have been faithful that promise through all the ups and downs that are common to normal family life. I have worn the ring, and excepting odd occasions when it has proved necessary (bathing for example) or required (I worked in a factory for a while and all jewellery had to be taken off) have never removed it. Years of wearing the ring has made a visible mark on me.
The Bible talks about us bearing the marks of our faith:
- In Exodus 20, we are told that if a slave was freed, and still wished to serve his master he was have his ear pierced … “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.” (Exodus 5:5,6)
- The prophet Isaiah says: “Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.” (Isaiah 44:5)
- Paul declared to the Galatians “From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.” (Galatians 6:17), and 2 Corinthians 2:15,16 says “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.”
My point is this …
Just as my marriage has resulted in a mark which is both physical and unmistakeable in its appearance, I suggest our faith should also “mark” us in a way which is also unmistakeable it should not just be visible in our actions, but visible in our very being.
People can see I’m a married man by looking at the mark on my hand – what marks do we carry which identify us as Christians?