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Saturday, September 5, 2009

What Taste Do You Leave Behind?

I have never been a fan of cherry -- even cherry lifesavers. Honestly, I think it comes down to the fact that so many childhood medicines were suppose to be flavored like wild cherry lifesavers. I never met one that truly lived up to this claim. Instead, after a hint of cherry it seemed that they all left some nasty, burning taste behind. Maybe it is just that from that point on, I just haven't trusted cherry.

A few months ago I fell victim to the Facebook phenomena.

Everyone was talking about it. I decided that I had to give in and see what it was all about. One of the things to come out of it was a number of friend requests. Surprisingly, these have included people that I never knew thought of me as a friend. And I don't think they thought of me as a friend in high school.

That took me by surprise as well as my initial thought about a few of them. My senior year in high school, a group of people played a fairly mean prank on a classmate with repercussions that reverberated through the 1,200 plus student body. It was not a little matter and it could not be undone. This prank was the first thing I thought of when I got the friend requests. Knowing about that prank, left a bad taste in my mouth and made me wary even after all those years.

Still, that was 20+ years ago. I'm sure these folks have changed. I know I've changed since high school.

Sometimes we just don't know the impact our actions have on how others perceive us. As Christians, it can also have an impact on how others perceive Christ.

I work part time at Barnes and Noble. I enjoy it, but I am sad to say that my fellow booksellers often want to steer clear of customers shopping the Christian section. Sadly, too many of these customers have come across rude and demanding, a poor reflection on Jesus. I wonder if these customers realize that people are judging Christ based on the actions of His followers. I doubt they realize the impact of those cross words in a five minute discussion.

Paul writes this (NIV) in Philippians 2:12-18:

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

Just like those customers, I know there are times when I hinder the gospel even among those who are already Christians. A harsh word or angry glance make me seem unapproachable. They make me seem petty and mean even among believers.

Praise God that I am not who I was yesterday, that I -- like those kids from high school -- are in the process of becoming. If I was left with who I am today, I would have to give up all hope. God sees who I can become and faithfully calls me to it.

Still, I must be careful -- where possible -- to remember that the taste I leave behind is what people will remember and what will reflect on God.

What taste do you leave behind?

God's Work In Progress,

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Blogger Denise said...

This was really awe inspiring sweetie, bless you.

September 5, 2009 at 12:55 AM  
Blogger said...

I pray that the taste I leave behind is indeed a pleasant one. I try very often to enter a place or room being mindful that I am representing my Father. I truly enjoyed your words today.

September 5, 2009 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Good word. I know people who don't even go to church anymore because of the way they were treated in church. Pretty sad! Oh that we would be the sweet fragrance of Christ to those around us. Blessings on your day. Mary

September 6, 2009 at 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was so true,recently our church had elections for the new year for commitee's sunday school teachers and so on.What went on left me with a very bad taste of church ,and the politics that go on inside the church what I found out was discouraging to say the least,Maybe I'm expecting to much but should'nt church elections be honest.Sorry guess I'm venting a bit I still have a very bad taste from it all.Sheila

September 7, 2009 at 9:11 AM  

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