How can the little things we do help or hurt the reputation of Jesus? I thought about that question recently for a couple of reasons – conversations with my kids and comments made during a mission trip training session. Those experiences made me think about some of the things I want my kids to consider as they move into their future (and I want to remember for myself).
The other day we were eating at a local Mexican food restaurant (which is one of the best kinds of food there is, by the way). The meal was over and we were figuring out the tip and talking about how much to give. As we were walking out my son mentioned that he remembered me talking about being generous in tipping (I tend to start from 20%). I explained to Andrew that I believe generosity is a great way to bless someone.
I also mentioned something I had heard before, that wait staff have a really bad impression of Christians. It seems that people eating out after church can be some of the least generous people in the restaurant. My hope for my children is that they will help repair the reputation of Jesus by being generous Christians, even when people don’t know they’re a Christian.
Wear a fish and drive like you do
I heard a couple of people lately mention that they do not put a Christian “fish” on their car because they don’t want to be a poor witness for Jesus. They explained that they know how they drive and it wouldn’t be good if people knew they were a follower of Jesus – it would give him a bad rep.
That’s a sad statement in my mind. “Jesus, I love you and I want everyone to know I do, except when I drive because I can’t be gracious and nice like you when I’m in the car.” Reminds me of Peter – “Lord, I will follow you anywhere even if I have to die…” Later: “Jesus? Don’t know the guy.”
I do not have a fish on my car. I should probably get one. But, even if I don’t I should drive like I do – and I want my teenagers to learn that lesson as well. Being kind and letting the Spirit of God control your thoughts and emotions is a good thing. Let people in line (even if they didn’t get over earlier like you did); give others the benefit of the doubt when they do you wrong; don’t return evil for evil – bless and don’t persecute.
These are lessons I hope my children will learn and I thought they might be helpful for all of us to hear.
What reputation is Jesus getting from the way you live your life?
Holy high five to you, Mike