Beloved film critic, the late Roger Ebert, never claimed to be a Christian—or a theist. He actually steadfastly refused to be labeled as anything. Although he grew up Roman Catholic, he probably would be considered a humanist. He sometimes attended church services, although he had little affection for organized religion. He also possessed a great sense of wonder about the universe and a great love of people. His long battle with cancer also revealed he was a person of courage. Near the end of his life, he wrote this:

“I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try.”

That is not bad advice. Those of us who are people of faith would be more motivated to bring a little happiness. We would do so in honor of Jesus, who came to give us abundant life.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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