You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:3-6 NIV
How are we representing who we say we serve? Do our lives depict who we say we are or must we always have to tell others who we are–so they’ll know?
There is a quote out there, can’t remember who said it first and that’s not important as long as I’m not trying to take credit for it, but it goes like this: “The best sermon is the one lived, not preached.” And I have known that to be true based upon the people I’ve met.
There are two instances in particular that come to mind. The first was a woman I met when she was applying for an apartment a non-profit owned. I was accepting the applications. For whatever reason, she thought it was important to try to impress upon how “religious” she was. I was not impressed and a few months later, realized my first thoughts about her were accurate. She was negligent in paying her rent, condoned the destruction of another apartment, and eventually was sought by police for writing bad checks. But she was in church at least four nights a week.
The second instance was more recent. During a meeting, a newly hired band director introduced himself and one of the first things out of his mouth was, “I’m a God-fearing man.” Warning bells immediately went off in my head and later when I had a chance to talk to him, I made the following comment to him.
“I heard what you said about being a God-fearing man and I immediately told Holy Spirit to show me who you really are.”
He was given contact information for me and the president of the organization and was supposed to call us the next day to solidify plans for the coming school year. Neither of us have heard from him and that was over two weeks ago. So much for his proclamation.
On the other hand, I’ve been complimented a number of times by people who do not know me and have only read my comments on various media threads. I tend to comment a lot on articles produced by various media–both nationally and locally–but I seldom tell anyone anything about me. My comments have been about the articles and my responses–even when attacked by those who are filled with hatred–have always tempered by Holy Spirit. One woman told me how much she appreciated my open-mindedness and calm in responding to people who attacked me.
Another person, just recently complimented me on being a “light” to the masses even though we’re on the opposite sides of the fence–politically. His last words in that thread were, “Stay Classy.” Not once did I mention being a born-again, ordained minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not once did I mention bible or God, yet people recognized who I was.
My point here is this–we don’t need to “say” a whole lot about who we are, we just need to live–being the open letter read by all who interact with us–so they will know, through us, it’s all about Jesus.
How do we do that? We promote love–not hate or fear-mongering. We demonstrate understanding of forgiveness and mercy and grace. We listen to what others have to say and think before we speak, knowing we may never get another chance to make our case. We respect every member of the human race as God’s creation and we don’t take on a role of superiority over another. Even in disagreement, we know how to disagree, agreeably. Our ultimate goal should be to introduce others to Jesus by being a light, directing their paths by how we interact with them.
I thank God for using me in commenting on these media threads because it gives me opportunity for others to see how a meaningful life in Jesus manifests itself. I’m thankful that He is constantly working on my character so it is Him who shines through.
If we live like we belong to Jesus, everyone will know and we won’t have to say a word, and we should because the lives we live should be–all about Jesus!