Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Something different is going on here

I was dwelling at the university, in a foreign land of sorts, among strangers to my faith.  I just kept on keeping on, setting my mind not on well-scripted words or outward appearances, but just focusing on my own relationship with God.  Each day, I prayed, O LORD, open my eyes and heart.  It was neither the time nor place for lofty words, but a living among.  Love God, love others hilariously, and He will take care of the rest. 

There was a rowdy group of girls who lived one floor up.  One afternoon in a lonely hallway when others were sleeping or in class, I was washing my hands as one of my upstairs neighbors was passing through.  I knew her from one of my classes, although not well.  We greeted each other.  As she continued on her way, she turned to me quite suddenly and said, "We know you are a Christian, and we are watching you."

I had no idea.

A friend of ours is in a tough situation at work right now with all manner of pressures upon him.  And in some ways, the company appears to be taking advantage of his strong work ethic by adding temporarily to his workload the responsibilities of another.  "Temporary" has now been stretched into its fourth month with promises of "just a little longer." But in spite of all this, our friend still seeks to do what is good and right, working without complaining and doing his best in all he does.  He is well-respected and liked by his co-workers at that place of employment.

Our friend is a believer, and he often laments to us about not speaking verbally of his faith to others at work. Oh, I want to tell him, you are bearing witness every day by how you treat others and doing your best, no matter the extenuating circumstances, not in a fake martyr kind of way "look at poor me," not even just taking the high road, but dwelling in a higher place and dancing, so to speak, to a different tune, that points not to oneself but to the One who is at the core of who you are.

"The life that is rightly related to God is as natural as breathing wherever it goes," said Oswald Chambers.

And whatever you do,
       in word or deed,
do everything
in the name of the Lord Jesus...
                     Colossians 3.17

One of the most significant things you can do is "being faithfully present in a particular place and time," says Dr. Tom Nelson in his book Work Matters.  "As God's redeemed people, we are called to live ordinary lives in ordinary places as bold and credible witnesses of the transforming power of the gospel."

That is your job description:  do all things with excellence, exhibit a faithful presence, and manifest His transforming work in you and through you.

Others can't help but know something different is going on here.

Blessed are the men
        whose strength is in You,
in whose heart
        are the highways to Zion.
                       Psalm 84.5

"We are watching you." After so many years, I can still hear that girl's words and see her face.

The people around you
     are always watching you
 to see if you are for real
                     and God is true.

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