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.