Something interesting happened on the way to the office the other day. I was following an SUV up Front Street that had a bumper sticker proclaiming the joys of YOUNG LIFE. Now, I personally have no experience with Young Life, but we have friends that were very involved and so we have had positive exposure to this ministry. As I followed this SUV down Front, I had good vibes. Here, in front of me leading the way was a fellow follower of Jesus. We are in this together! I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy because it’s comforting to know there are fellow believers out there. Then the SUV stopped. There were any number of empty parking spaces at this early hour; but no they just stopped in the middle of the road. Because they stopped, I stopped and the people behind me stopped and on it went. Then the door to the SUV with the prominent YOUNG LIFE bumper sticker opened. Out stepped a woman who was obviously being dropped off by her husband. Okay, that’s fine, I get it, hubby is letting her off in a convenient spot. Then the woman stopped. She began to talk to the driver, whom I assumed was her hubby. I imagined the conversation. “You’ll pick up the kids right?” “No I’ll be running late” “Ok, I’ll make arrangements.” So their domestic chat continues and the line behind me gets longer. Now, I realize my view of Young Life seems to be changing! I am identifying this ministry with these people who seem to be so self-centered that they don’t care that the rest of us are waiting on them. I’m thinking, “Really, is this the type of people who are in Young life? Are they really this self-absorbed that they are clueless that other people need to get to work as well. Could they not have had this conversation before they stopped in the middle of the road and blocked traffic?” About this time, I’m really hating Young Life. Finally, all the domestic problems are worked out and mercifully the conversation ends. The door shuts and the lady walks in front of my truck and gives me the little “Prom Queen” wave as she merrily goes on her way and hubby proceeds down the road. The rest of us follow; but of course we don’t matter.
Now before you start e-mailing me, yes I know that Young Life is a great ministry. I know that this couple does not represent the average person involved with this ministry. In fact, maybe they bought the SUV with the bumper sticker already on it. I don’t know. In fact it could have been an AWANA bumper sticker, or any other ministry, but here is my point. When you identify with something you represent it. Whatever entity or ministry that you bear the name of, you model that ministry or entity to the world. So in this case, I identified Young Life with this couple who thought their
convenience. was more important than everyone else’s time. At that moment, they represented Young Life to me as being led by self-centered, selfish people. Let’s make sure we don’t do that. When we name the name of Jesus, we represent Him to the world. What are people seeing? Do they see Jesus? Do they see selfless followers of the King of Kings or do they see us in our selfishness.
Let’s examine the Scriptures for a moment:
2 Corinthians 8:18, And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches.
The “brother” here is an unnamed Christian accompanying Titus. Note how he is identified, “Whose praise is in the gospel.” He represented Christ well. He lived up to the bump sticker.
2 Corinthians 5:20A, Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ.
If we are indeed Christ’s ambassadors, then we represent Him to the world. What does the world think of Him when they see us?
Here is what we want:
Romans 1:8, First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
When people see our lives, when they speak of us, what is the outstanding characteristic they are speaking of? Is it selflessness or selfishness?
Let’s be careful to walk well in the world, because you never know who is watching.