How many are left? About 500…

inside stradivarius bestThat’s how many Stradivarius violins still exist today. Born in 1644, Antonio Stradivari is now known as the best luthier (someone who makes or repairs stringed instruments) of all times; and if you plan on buying one, you’d better have several million dollars in your pocket!

What makes the Stradivarius violin so valuable?  First, it is the quality of the instrument. “His interpretation of geometry and design for the violin has served as a conceptual model for violin makers for more than 250 years.” (Smithsonian, Seriously Amazing) Many luthiers have copied his design, but there is still only one crafter by that name, and that signature is invaluable!

Secondly, there are so few that have been preserved throughout history.  Stradivari himself made around 1,100 instruments, including harps, guitars, viola, cellos, as well as violins.  Whenever there is a lesser amount of anything, the value increases.

So what’s the point?  In Luke 18:8, Jesus asks the question,

“…  Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

It seems like an odd question to us, especially when so many people believing that His return is imminent, including me!  We look around and see “Christianity” all around us.  We hear broadcasts on the radio, read blogs 🙂 , see many churches, and it seems as though faith is plentiful.  Is Jesus returning soon, and will there be a lack of faith when He comes?

Matthew Henry gives us this insight into the verse: “Now, when he comes, will he find faith on the earth? The question implies a strong negation: No, he will not; he himself foresees it.” Those of the faith will be rare when Jesus comes, and I wonder if all that we see labeled “Christian” really has anything to do with Jesus Christ at all? Truly, pure, unadulterated Christ-likeness has already become rare!  In fact, it might be a good idea to describe it:

A man or woman of faith – faith in Jesus Christ:

  1. Places his faith in Christ alone; ie. The church and any actions performed by the church have NOTHING to do with salvation: Christ alone saves.
  2. The fruits of the Spirit are clearly evident:
    1. Love not hatred, prejudice, bigotry, or any other form of the word
    2. Joy not sorrow or sadness, depression, constant moodiness or discouragement
    3. Peace not anxiety, unrest, angst
    4. Longsuffering not vengeance or impatience
    5. Gentleness not boldness, or obnoxious behavior
    6. Goodness not evil, or wicked acts of any kind
    7. Faith not doubt or fear
    8. Meekness not pride, arrogance or assertiveness
    9. Temperance not impatience, indulgence or excess
  3. Even though good character is a quality of a man or woman of faith, good character is not faith.
  4. Every sin is “under the blood,” but constant habitual sin does not characterize a true believer.
  5. Believers love to be with other believers.  When someone tells me that he is a Christian, but he doesn’t like to be with other believers or go to church, I have to wonder.

So much of what is happening in the realm of fundamental Christianity is just the opposite of what it should be.  Many are “jumping ship” and throwing in the towel, tired of the fight that Jesus Himself promised would be ours:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6: 1215418r2Nce819a12e2458523048b8c715c068797

Now to you, dear soldier of Christ, I want to offer this note of encouragement. Stand fast, and you are rare and of great value!  Be strong in the Lord, and your worth is limitless!  Stradivari made great violins, but YOU are made in the image of God! Fight the good fight of faith, and rejoice in the fact that our Lord and Captain will issue the final blow; and when you stand before Him, He will say those coveted words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…”Matthew 25:21

 

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