When you tell someone that you are a Christian, how do they react? In a perfect world, their face would light up and they would be excited to hear this wonderful news. The reality is that the reaction is often a rolling of the eyes, a stiffening of the back, a step backwards, or a nonchalant "who cares". Once we have established that we are followers of Christ, people will be watching us. Some cynically hoping we will show that we are just ordinary or even bad people. Some curious to see what it is we have. As any parent will tell you, we may not know they are watching, but they are watching.
Some people equate a Christian with someone who is harsh, critical and judgmental instead of someone who is loving, kind and compassionate. As Christians we have a lot of bad history and baggage to overcome. And, as ambassadors for Christ, I honestly feel we have an obligation to do our best to do just that.
The story of Bartimaeus was very convicting for me. The crowd passes by the blind man, ignoring him and chastising him for calling to Jesus. Jesus stops, talks to Bartimaeus and heals him. Recently my wife had emergency surgery and spent some time in the hospital. Thankfully she has done well and is recovering at home. It was an incredibly stressful time for our family. Two doors down from my wife’s hospital room was a young man who had horrific, long term injuries. Each afternoon the nurses would wheel the young man out of his room into the hall. My initial observation was that he was in a vegetative state and I did not understand why they were doing this. I soon realized he was watching me as I walked by. I would love to say I stopped and attempted to converse with the young man. To my shame, I did not. However, God has given me a lesson with this and the opportunity will not slip by again. This episode emphasized to me how imperfect I am. And that imperfect people have been introducing other imperfect people to the perfect person of Christ for 2000 years.
This summer a group is getting together to honor my high school vocal music instructor. He taught so many young people over so many years. He has been on my mind recently. One of my favorite memories of Mr. Price is when he would hear what I called the fifth note. We always sang four part harmony and sometimes, when the voices blended just right, they would produce a fifth note. Mr. Price’s eyes would light up, he would smile and he would point up, indicating we should listen for the note. Sometimes I could hear it, sometimes I couldn’t.
I wonder if, as Christians interacting with each other and the world, do we produce that fifth note for the world to hear? Something beautiful that reveals the presence of Christ? When the world watches us (and believe me, they do), what do they see? Joy? Something special? Something they want? The face of Christ? There is nothing more life-changing than introducing someone to Christ. So, what holds me back from sharing Christ? Christ exhorts us to love one another. Christ goes on to say that the world will recognize his followers by their love for each other. My prayer this day is for guidance as to how to be a better ambassador for Christ. So that those who are watching will see our joy.
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