Monday, August 29, 2005

Reminder

Part of what we're doing right now is creating contacts. We try to befriend everyone we come into contact with. We don't do it in an overwhelming do-you-have-a-close-personal-relationship-with-Jesus kind of way, we just try to show interest in them and in their lives and try to give them glimpses of our life. (There will be a time for Serious Evangelism; right now we're just trying to figure out how to say, "Do you have a close, personal relationship with Jesus?") Anyway, sometimes it's hard. And sometimes by the end of the day, we're tired. Many nights we get into a taxi to head home and we're just in auto-pilot. We're tired and, if we talk, it's to each other. Some nights we recognize our taxi drivers and other nights we don't. If we remember them, we try to step up the conversation a little. But many nights, because I'm sitting behind the driver and don't really get to see his face, unless he has a big Virgin Mary sticker on the dashboard, I don't remember if I've ridden with him or not. But they remember us.

So tonight I didn't think it was a familiar driver. He didn't know where we live, there were no large foil stickers, he had no distinguishing physical characteristics. It was a long day--we'd been out shopping and we'd had a team meeting--so I mostly just zoned out on the way home. When we pulled up in front of our apartment, Russ pulled out a R$10 bill to pay him. The driver offered back double the amount of change. At first, I thought he was just offering us two different ways to take our change. But when we asked him, he responded, "The last time I drove you, I didn't have change for you. You let it go, so here's your change now."

My mind flashed back to that night several weeks ago. He was short on change and offered us a R$5 instead of the R$2 he owed us. That was just silly to us, to take extra back, extra that meant a whole lot more to him than it did to us (R$2 is less than $1 US). It was really no big deal at the time.

But tonight it drove an important message home. We are remembered. Our actions are significant, whether we are trying or not. So when we're not trying, when we're in auto-pilot and just doing whatever comes naturally, what are we saying to people? Are we truly being ambassadors for Christ? For Russ and I, our actions bear a lot of weight because we're "those crazy gringos", but it applies to everyone. If people know you're a Christian, you are always a Christian. When you are not making a conscious effort to communicate Christ, you are still communicating something. The only question is- what?

I'm not saying that tonight was some watershed evangelistic experience with the taxi driver. We may never see him again. But it was a vivid reminder for me that I am always working and that people notice what we do. My prayer is that we always act in a way that represents the beauty of our message.

5 comments:

JenniferReinsch said...

what a wonderful impression you made on his life. may god continue to bless you guys and open the hearts of all those you come in contact with.

Mom T. said...

A beautiful vignette that reminds all of us of our roles as ambassadors of Christ! I am so thankful for your writing ability, Val, and for your sensitive, observant heart.

One time an elderly woman who lived down the street from us started to come to church and eventually was baptized into Christ--initiated by her seeing us walking to church all the time (we lived a block away). We didn't even know her at the time, but she was watching the young couple down the street! You never know who's watching and what they'll learn!

Love you much,
Mom T.

Heather A said...

What an amazing reminder to all of us of how following Christ should be our lifestyle. Still miss you guys a ton...praying blessings over you every day! Love you!

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing this with us all - reminds me to renew my own perspective. Blessings to you!

Court said...

When I was 15 years old, there was a socially handicapped 19-year-old girl in our youth group. She tried so hard to fit in, but she never really did, because her mentality never got past that of 12 or 13-year-old. I'm ashamed to say that several of the other girls in the group ostracized this girl quite a bit, and I just went along.
This continued until one of the older singles took us all aside and gave us a good talking-to. She told us, "People are watching all of you. There are people in this congregation who haven't been Christians very long, and they are watching you to find out how they should be living the Christian life. There are kids younger than you who are looking up to you and following your example in everything you do, good and bad. You need to make sure that you're treating all people the way God wants you to treat them, because your example shows others what being a Christian is all about."

I've never forgotten that lesson, but it's sometimes hard to remember it consciously and act on it. Thanks for the reminder, Val. :o)