“How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news.”
The Prophet Isaiah, Ancient Israel
“Loose Lips Sink Ships.”
US Civil Defense Slogan, World War 2
I don’t know how many of you are aware of it, but we recently received word in the church office that Calvary Baptist had been named the recipient of a 2011 “Mountie Award.” This means that our congregation was chosen by readers of the Mount Airy News as the Surry County area’s “Best Church.” Naturally, I’d like to be able to say that this has something to do with the arrival of our handsome and talented new pastor (wink, wink)…but the voting on this year’s Mountie Awards clearly took place before I came on the scene. So I guess the best thing I can say is, “Congratulations, Calvary Baptist! You have been ‘letting your light shine’ in such a way that those around you have seen your good works and are glorifying your Father in heaven”…or at least…“They’ve seen your good works and are giving you an award (which doesn’t sound quite as biblical, but which is nice, all the same).”
Now somewhat ironically, in the very same week that we received news about the Mountie Award, I received a phone call from someone who had a very different impression of our church. This individual apparently had what I’ll describe as an “unpleasant encounter” with someone from our congregation, and—when she combined her impressions of this encounter with some unresolved feelings that she had from a prior experience—this was enough to make her question whether we had any true Christians in our midst at all.
In the end, of course, the truth of our church’s character is probably somewhere in between these two poles. We are likely not as good as our ‘best press’ would suggest…nor are we as bad as our ‘worst detractors’ would insist. Our church—like each of us individually—is a sometimes-frustrating mixture of sinner and saint. And perhaps the best we can pray for is that we’re slowly but surely making some kind of progress toward greater Christ-likeness.
But having these two interactions so close together has reminded me (as I hope it will remind all of us) that we are being watched. Whether we realize it or not…whether we like it or not…people are observing our behavior and listening to our words. And they are drawing conclusions—not only about us but also about the Savior we serve—based on what they see.
So what will we show them? Lovely feet that bring good news? Or loose lips that sink ships?
May we aspire to live in such a way that everything we do—in thought word and deed—is done in the name of the Lord Jesus. And may the warm glow of our fellowship cast such an appealing light that others are drawn to the beauty of Christ, who loves us and gave himself for us.