Read Colossians 4:5-6.Recently at our church we had one of our teens (let's call him Clay) play the drums in the service. Clay had only been attending for about three months and had grown spiritually in tremendous leaps from an atheist to a believer. He had played drums for our Sunday morning youth service called, A.M. But not in the adult service. That's why his father and his girlfriend came that morning. I was sitting on the front row because Jim (my husband) and I were going to team teach on parenting that day. Jim was standing off to the side in the wing. Worship began and suddenly I realized that standing to the side, but right in front of the stage was Clay's dad with a camera taking video of Clay playing the drums. Because we work so hard to avoid distractions during worship so people can actually worship, my first instinct was to go ask him to sit in the front seats or wait until after service to get his video. I knew the team would play another song for him in between services. I even looked over at Jim to see if he wanted me to move. We both just waited a bit to see if he would sit back down, but he tenaciously stood there taping his son. Jim nodded me off to let him continue. At greeting time, Clay's dad (We'll call him, Tom) sat down beaming from ear to ear.
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders...." NIV
Bob immediately got involved in the church helping with set up (We meet in a high school.) and came to church three weeks in a row. I talked to Clay the second week Tom was there and he said that his dad really liked coming and felt it just added something to his life. This last Sunday, week three of Tom's coming, we had baptisms. We always have some scheduled with video testimonies to precede them. But after the scheduled ones, Jim always gives an invitation for anyone who wants to get baptized to come talk to a pastor. We have clothes and towels waiting for them to use. At the end of first service baptisms, Clay came forward and asked to be baptized. It was awesome. Here this 16-year-old, who only three months previously was a self-proclaimed atheist, was receiving the sacrament of baptism. Clay had called his dad to come, but Tom missed it by just minutes.
Tom stayed for second service and after the baptisms, he came forward to speak to a pastor about being baptized. Someone ran to A.M. service and pulled Clay out saying, "Your dad is going under." So with Tom and the pastor in the portable hot tub, and Clay kneeling behind his dad with his hand on Tom's shoulder, Tom took the plunge. What a beautiful sight - father and son, hugging and crying -- as together they declared that they will follow Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
So here's the point of my story. What if Jim or I had stopped Tom from videotaping his son that day three weeks ago? Here was an unbeliever who was proud of his boy and just wanted to document his son's accomplishment. We could have come across as very uncaring and legalistic if we had stopped him and maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't have come back. I'm not saying this is the only reason Tom kept coming back. There are other factors -- the Holy Spirit working in his heart; the love and acceptance of not only Tom but his son by the people of the church. But.....what if.
People are watching us every day. Many just waiting for us to "mess up" so their view of Christians can be confirmed. Many watching because they see we have something that they so desperately want. Are we taking that fishbowl life seriously? Are we watching that we treat all people with love and kindness -- not just those in the body or the ones that treat us nicely? Are we allowing the glory of Christ to shine through our actions and conversations so we present the best reflection of Christ possible? We have to live out in front of all people the person we say that we are. Souls are hanging in the balance. And I don't want to have to answer for one of them being lost.
- Look for more Scriptures on being a witness for Jesus Christ to those who we are around every day.
- How did Jesus treat the unbelievers He came in contact with?
- Is there a "Tom" in your life who needs to see who Jesus really is? Are you showing them? If not, what needs to change?