Christian: Noun or Verb?

If you have watched the movie, Sister Act 2 you are familiar with this scene and song. Though the nuns are called by God to love and ministers to others, they have seemed to have built a wall between them and the community. They have put fencing around their living quarters and school for protection. Then, Whoopi Goldberg’s character, Deloris aka Sister Mary Clarence brings them to reality. In order to make a difference beyond their walls, they needed  to get back into the community, be seen and put their calling and God’s love into action.

How many of us who proclaim to be Christian stand inside our homes, churches, or offices and see a world hurting?  Yet, we do nothing. Instead, we build fences, walls and withdraw in order to protect ourselves from the ugly that is outside our door. We pass judgement on people, their lifestyle and situations.  In other words, we keep the word, Christian as a noun and not an action verb.

emmaus Jesus

God sent his Son, Jesus to be an example of putting love into action, of accepting others no matter their lifestyle, situation or demons. He didn’t pass judgement on anyone. Jesus simply loved. He came to take barriers down.

These days it seems that people are feeling more that we are in the end times and some have even predicted when Jesus will physically return. But we are reminded in scripture that we do not know the day nor the hour of His return.  Yet, we must remember we DO encounter Jesus every day. He reminds us of this in Matthew 25:37:40

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry and you, or thirsty and give you 

something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes to clothe you?

When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you? ‘ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you , whatever you did for one of the least

of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

In other words, Jesus was telling us to put our love for Him into action. In a hurting world, isn’t it about time we began to take down fences just as the nuns did in this movie? Isn’t it about time we put the word Christian in action making it a verb? Is your love for Christ a noun or verb?


The other day I was going through some old files and I came across this prayer I received on email many years ago. I do not know the author but it says it all when it comes to putting our Christian faith into action.

Heavenly Father:

Help us to remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic

last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day

and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework,

do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed disinterested young man

who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old student,

balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting

his student loan for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot 

every day (who really ought to get a job) is a slave to addictions that we can only 

imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoying slowly through

the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring

this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week,

this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, 

Remind us each day that all the gifts you give us, the greatest is love. It

is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to

just those who are close to us, but to ALL humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to

forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

Working for God on earth doesn’t pay much…but His retirement plan is out of this world!!

How about it? As Christians, may those we encounter each day see that Christian is a word in action!





6 thoughts on “Christian: Noun or Verb?

  1. Great reminder of what a blood-bought, adopted child of the living God should *BE*

    I would class the word Christian as an adjective, to be used when referring to being Christ-like. This definition, according to its derivation, would apply to the person’s attitudes, words and deeds and to every aspect of his/her character – thus translating – as you say – into being/doing/action.

  2. We should all be verbs. Busy each day spreading the word. But alas he knew we were sinners. This is why Jesus died on the cross to save us. Thank goodness for his love for I am forgiven for being a human

  3. April, you probably won’t like this comment, but, top me, “Christian” is neither a noun or a verb. To me it is simply a label that gets tossed around like so many tired cliches. I don’t call myself a Christian any longer. Rather, I like to refer to myself as an authentic follower of Jesus. If you have any interest in knowing why and how I came to my conclusion I’d like to refer you to a series of posts I wrote about it I called “Baskin Robbins Christianity.” I’ve written several other posts about my disengaging from being labeled a “Christian”. The primary reason for my disengagement is that anyone can define “Christian” any way they want to and embrace beliefs diametrically opposed to those of the “Christian” down the block.
    Here’s a link if you’re interested. I agree that we should love one another, which requires that we “do” something. And I also agree that too many folks who call themselves “Christians” don’t do anything. Here’s the link if you’re interested. Thanks for posting.

    • Thank you for your thoughts. Yes, and as a follower of Christ we must that we are joining God in His work of loving and helping others.


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