Does It Matter?
By Kay W. Camenisch
After the "Amen," the six-year-old looked up and said, "You really love God, don't you?"
When Robert and I took our little friend for a hamburger, we held hands and had a blessing before we ate. Apparently her family didn't do that, at least not in public.
Another time, we prayed before eating while in Brazil with two of our sons. We raised our heads to see a stranger leaning over our table. With tears in his eyes. he said, "One of these days, I will do this with my family."
He confessed to being unfaithful as a husband and father. His sinful lifestyle had destroyed his family. He'd become a Christian a year earlier, and his deepest desire was to see them come to know the Lord and for the family to be restored.
You might think, "Why not pray silently while putting my napkin in my lap? Does it matter if I bow to pray while in public?"
I'm sure God hears our prayer either way, so does it matter?
Both of these times, we were going about life, being ourselves, doing what we do. We had no idea we were being watched.
Our little friend observed and understood that we love God. The stranger at breakfast saw that we love God and each other. It quickened a longing deep in his heart and brought him to tears.
These situations made Paul's words to the Corinthians come alive for me, "You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all" (2 Cor. 3:2).
Paul didn't need people to write commendations for him, because people could look at the Corinthians to see the effect of Paul's message in their lives. Likewise, others learn about God by watching us.
Robert's recent visit to pastors that his father worked with while planting churches in Brazil renewed the awareness that people read our lives, and that it matters what we do.
Time after time, people who knew his parents told of events or conversations that occurred through the course of their service there. None were big or spectacular, but they revealed lessons learned through daily life, lessons never forgotten.
One woman commented that Robert's mother always dressed nicely. Consequently when she offered to drive her and a friend to the country to a party for a young bride, they copied her and dressed up for the occasion, so they would look their best.
However, when Mom arrived to pick them up, she greeted them, paused, and asked, "Have you thought about who we're going to see? These people don't have much. I think they'd be more comfortable if we dress simply when we visit with them." She kindly and gently sent them back to dress more simply.
She cared about others, and they learned from that experience to think of others too. And they loved her for it.
We do not live in a vacuum. We are letters whether we realize it or not, and whether we like it or not. The way we live reflects upon our family, work place, church, and—if we call ourselves Christian—on our God.
As we go about life, people notice what we do and how we do it. They see whether we are angry and judgmental or kind and loving. What they read in us may be their only letter of recommendation about Jesus. Our actions or attitudes could lead them to turn their backs on Him.
On the other hand, many people have given their lives to the Lord because of the righteousness, peace, and joy—the testimony or commendation—they see in a believer.
Jesus said, "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).
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Kay W. Camenisch is a pastor's wife, writer, and speaker. She has worked closely in ministry with her husband in local churches, as missionaries in Brazil, training young adults, and establishing a ranch for troubled young men. She is a regular contributor to a newspaper column and has written a Bible study, Uprooting Anger: Destroying the Monster Within; an e-book, The Judgment Trap; and The Great Exchange: Bound by Blood, which tells how the Old and New Covenants of the Bible are relevant to us today as they define our relationship with God. Learn more at randkcamenisch.com.
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