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|What a Difference the Presence of Jesus Makes!
|Thursday, August 14, 2014|
They say the town is only one square mile--has less than a thousand residents. But every year, half a million people come for a visit.
I'm talking about the phenomena known as Shipshewana, Indiana. This tiny strip of land is home to one of the largest flea markets in the entire United States—and some of the best eating on the planet.
More remarkable than the food or the farms is the faith element. A strong Mennonite and Amish presence is evident in the Bible verses that you see, the music streamed into restaurants and the Christian books and concerts available seemingly everywhere.
My wife and I took a buggy ride out to an Amish house for dinner. Afterward, she asked the tour operator about crime in the area. “Don't have much of that,” he chuckled, adding, “I haven't locked my doors in the 28 years we've been here. Tried to once, but the lock was stuck, so I haven't bothered with it since.”
Indeed, the one squad car we saw patrolling the streets looked pathetic for lack of action. My wife observed that in a mall, individual stores closed at different times with no gates or doors barring their merchandise. The idea of stealing is, apparently, not part of the local culture.
Everything is clean. Everything is safe. Everything is comfortable.
It dawned on me that in large part, this must be the result of Christian people doing their best to run their businesses according to Christian principles, and live their lives in a truly Christian way. And it seems to rub off on the general population. Decency, honesty, uprightness, cleanliness—these are the byproducts.
My theory was bolstered some when we gassed up the car for the ride home just a few miles outside of town. The place was void of the Christian atmosphere we'd previously experienced. The property there was untidy and the people appeared seedy. Of course, one can't over generalize. Nevertheless, the connection seems apparent.
Isaiah 32:17 “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.”
What a difference the presence of Jesus makes!
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