You Never Know
You never know when our actions will speak louder than our words. Sometimes they will both be put to the test. It usually happens when we least expect it.
We should always be on our best behavior and follow the example that Jesus set for us. Now that’s typically not too difficult to do, especially when we’re around church people, co-workers or schoolmates that we associate with during the day or week. At least it shouldn’t
be difficult. It’s easy to “be cool” and “Christ-Like” around church. Even when conflict or disappointment happens, we can generally control our actions and words, because after all, they know us.
But what about those times when we are away from the familiar people in our lives? How do we respond in situations that may not be to our liking? How do we act then? Does it matter if we let off a little steam or maybe not treat them as well as we do those we know?
We say to ourselves, “After all, I probably won’t see them or hear from them again” or, “No one will ever know that I didn’t live up to the example I am supposed to be setting, so I can let it rip.”
If we’re honest, there are those times when we have or felt like just letting it rip. Not good! Let me tell you about a couple of my experiences.
About 5 years ago my wife ordered a birthday cake for one of my daughter’s birthday from a supermarket near our home. My wife explained to the person taking the order the exact type of cake, filling and icing it was supposed to have. When it came time to pick up the birthday cake, guess who got the call…you guessed it, me.
So I went to the market armed with a note explaining the exact details of what the cake was supposed to look like. When I arrived a young lady helped me with my order. When she brought the cake I looked and noticed that the frosting and the filling in the cake was not what my wife ordered. It was too late to order another cake, as it was the day of my daughter’s birthday. What to do? I had every right to be upset, demand a refund, or here’s a popular one, “I want to talk with the manager”. You get the picture. But by God’s grace I remained calm and said, “Oh well, I guess we’ll have to make this work”. (Thank God for His grace.)
As I was paying for the cake the young lady looked at me, smiled and then asked, “Pastor Richard, don’t you recognize me?” I looked and replied, “I’m sorry, but I don’t.” (Wow, how did she know I was a pastor and why didn’t she give me a heads up?)
She proceeded to tell me that she grew up in our church and was in our nursery as a baby, participated in our children’s programs and Missionettes program, but said she hadn’t been to church for some time.
She said, “My grandma and grandpa are…” and then mentioned their names. They are a faithful couple who have been in our church for years. We conversed a little more, I paid my bill and as I turned to walk out she said, “Pastor Richard, please pray for me and say hello to my grandma and grandpa”. I said I would and walked away thanking God that I didn’t get in the flesh and ruin not only my testimony and the churches, but also miss out on her asking for prayer. (Who want’s prayer from a grouchy Christian…if there even is such a thing?)
This has happened to me many times in one-way or another. I’ll be out of town, out of the country and people will walk up to me and say “Hi Pastor Richard”. Not that I’m famous, but I believe its God’s way of reminding me to watch my lifestyle and actions.
I will give you one last example that happened this past December. I was on my way home and came to a stop at an intersection. The car behind me failed to stop in time and hit me. We pulled over to the side of the road and both got out of our cars. Once again, I remained calm looked at the driver who was with his wife and asked, “Is everyone ok?” He said yes and we proceeded to exchange information. We both said sorry about what happened and went on our separate ways…so I thought.
A few days later I needed to contact the driver of the car that hit me in order to get a few more insurance details. When he answered I told him who I was and he replied, “Hello, you’re a pastor aren’t you?” Once again I wondered, “Brother, how did he know?” This time it’s not that he belonged to our church, but “Googled” and went on the Internet to our church website. Turns out he’s been away from church for some time, and that the Lord was dealing with him about getting back to church. He said, “I guess God got my attention.” He said, “He wondered why I didn’t get angry about getting hit, because the car I was driving was newer than his car”. After looking me up on the website he said, “That explains it”. He’s a Christian and a pastor.” (Whew…saved again by the Holy Spirit). Before we hung up I invited him to our church.
He and his wife came to church a few weeks later. He came up to me and asked, “Do you remember me”? I looked for a few moments, then he smiled and said, “I’m the guy who hit your car”.
We both laughed and shook hands. I can’t imagine how it would have turned out if I got out of my car and began to say ugly things and act in a way that would have made the situation worse and eventually turn him further away from God.
I Samuel 2:3, “Talk no more so exceedingly proudly; Let not arrogancy come out of your mouth; For Jehovah is a God of Knowledge, And by Him actions are weighed.”
There’s much to be said about maintaining our Christian testimony and working on our attitudes and actions at all times no matter where we are. Because, “You Never Know”.
May God Bless and Prosper You,
Pastor Richard Salazar