An honest man was being tailgated by a stressed-out driver on a busy street. Suddenly the light turned yellow just in front of him. The first driver did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.
The tailgating driver behind him hit the roof and the horn at the same time. He shook his fist at the first driver while screaming in frustration that he had missed his chance to get through the intersection. He was still in mid-rant when he heard a tap on his window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered him to exit his car with his hands up. The officer took him to the police station where he was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell. After a couple of hours, another policeman approached the cell and opened the door.
The man was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with his personal effects. The officer said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, shaking your fist at the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. So, naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car."
I would hope that none of you think that the moral to this story is simply just don't put any Christian symbols on the back of our car. I think that the better solution would be to drive as though Jesus were always sitting right beside you. What makes us think that we can hide something from our omnipotent God anyway? God sees the things that we do right as well as the things that we do wrong. And although God does not like the bad stuff, God is very forgiving, especially when we meaningfully repent and do those bad things no more. What that says is that God cares about what we do and what we say. And what we have to remember is that as Christians everything that we do, in some way, reflects on Him.
The issue is that it is not just God who watches; many people observe us to see what a Christian will do. Sometimes they watch just to confirm their suspicions and sometimes they really want to learn how to act. So no matter what we do and no matter how we react, it is always as a witness--good or bad. And it is not just other adults; children probably follow our actions more closely than either our friends or our enemies do. Therefore when we step back to take a good look at ourselves, how do we answer these questions, "What am I really teaching?" and "Is that what God wants me to teach?"
Highly stressful times, as when there are more bills at the end of the month than there is money, or when the plane is stuck on the tarmac, or when the guests have all arrived and the meal is nowhere near ready, or when it has been a bad day and the store with twenty check-out lanes only has three open, or when someone driving in front of us will not do what we want them to do--those can be the best occasions to teach. I know that it is not easy, but perhaps that is the best time to truly consider what you are teaching by your actions. It could just be the best classroom you can ever have to teach about the love of God.
God's Peace, Pastor Randy
Deuteronomy 11:18-19: You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.
Worship services at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 409 N. Wilbern in Runge begin at 8:30 a.m. Sunday mornings. Special events this week are the Runge 2013 Graduates Bunco Party and the Runge Faculty and Staff Appreciation Hoopla. Ladies' Bible Study is Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Monecke's home and Wednesday night Bible Study at the church begins at 6:30 with focus on Jesus' Parables. Come and see - you are welcome.