Thursday, July 17, 2014

Come Out From Your Hidiing Place

20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. – 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NASB95)
In a classic episode from the classic TV series from the 1960's, The Andy Griffith Show, Andy Taylor, the sheriff of Mayberry, is out of town. His deputy, Barney Fife, is in charge, and he has deputized the local mechanic who is named Gomer. The two deputies are walking down the street one evening when they notice that someone is robbing the town's bank. They hide behind a car. They are afraid and don't know what to do. Finally, Gomer looks at Barney and says excitedly, "Shazam! We need to call the police."
In utter exasperation, Barney shoots back: "We are the police!" – Stephen Mansfield, Mansfield's Book of Manly Men (Nelson, 2013), page 12
I went for a job interview many years ago with a big church. At the time I was preaching for a very small church. Well, it had been small. There were only 55 of us (counting my wife and two daughters) our first Sunday there. The church had grown, things were doing well, and I guess I got the attention of some folks who knew some of our members. It was quite an opportunity. If I were to tell you what church it was, some of you reading this would be both surprised and impressed.

But I was still a pretty young preacher. I was just hitting my stride, as they say. And as much as I was flattered and humbled by the opportunity, I turned them down. Yes. They never got the chance to tell me I wasn’t their pick, I turned them down. Why in the world would I do that? I remember talking to a couple of the elders. I said, “I really appreciate the opportunity, but I’m just not sure I’m your guy.”

I still think that was probably the right decision. But looking back on it now, I know who they hired and who followed that guy, etc. I now think I could have done just as good a job as those guys.

I’ve heard us pray for “opportunities.” The truth is they come every day. Instead of accepting them, and doing something with them, I think most of us have a tendency to say, “I’m not your guy.” We seem to think whatever comes our way demands somebody with greater abilities, better talent, more ‘smarts’, or some edge that we don’t possess. The truth is, we are ambassadors for Christ.

I wish it was a simple matter writing an article, tossing out a challenge, having someone read it, and find themselves moved to change their lives. I pray we can become more confident; not haughty or irritating people, but confident enough to speak to people about Jesus. We are his ambassadors. We represent him.

I know it’s not that simple, but I want to challenge you anyway. You are an ambassador for Christ. Don’t be like Barney and Gomer. You don’t need to call anyone. Step out from your hiding place.