In spite of our best intentions, our Christian witness can leave a little bit to be desired. Sometimes I wonder if we do more harm than good. But then again, God knows us and is still willing to work through us. I think the greatest harm is done when we use our faith for our own gain or simply misuse it.
When I was young, much younger, a man wanted to do some business with the company I represented. I was eager to conclude the deal, but then he quickly stated what a good Christian he was, as if mentioning Jesus made him a good credit risk. It did not and he was not a good risk. I didn’t want to lose a sale, but I was particularly glad that I didn’t lose the company any money to someone who later turned out to be less than honest with others. Frankly, I would have never remembered this story but the way he tried to misuse the name of Jesus Christ to possibly swindle me. It was a good example of a bad example of evangelism.
I just couldn’t shake the feeling that the person was telling me to trust him because he claimed Christ. I was young, but I had experienced bad behavior from both so-called heathens and so-called Christians. I preferred doing business with an honest heathen to a dishonest Christian. Fortunately for me, my faith was solid enough to understand that the way, truth, and life of Christ were not defined by any person but by the love of God. But did he try this on others? Are there people who, to this day, will not do business with anyone associated with Christ because of one person’s deception? Or worse, have nothing to do with Christ because they think “that’s what Christians do?”
Fortunately, I had many others who showed me how Jesus Christ can be part of the way we conduct business. I learned that proclaiming Christ with words is an important part of who we are and to whom we belong. Equally so is our proclaiming Christ in the way we live out our life in business and our community.
We all need to hear the good news of Christ from people we see as genuine. We have friends, neighbors, and family who need to be invited into the love of God. Some may think they are not good enough; we know better. They need to know they are not as far from Jesus as they have judged. We all need to be invited into a relationship with Christ. We all need what we often call a church home. A safe place to love and be loved by God and God’s people. And we all need to be honest with ourselves in that we are not always a good example or expression of the way, truth, and life of Christ. The people of the world are watching, even as some are denying their need for God’s love, we know we are all in need. So, let us invite, invite often, and show the world what a difference Christ has made in our life.
May the Grace and Peace of our Lord be with you!