A pastor was helping out one of the farmers in his church. It was a crisp autumn morning. With previous instructions, the pastor came dressed in his overalls and work boots. The first undertaking of the day was to take three truckloads of corn to the grain elevator in town. The farmer and preacher climbed into the first truck and the hired hands got into the second and third. Soon the corn convoy was headed to town.
When they arrived at the mammoth grain elevators the preacher stepped out of the truck to watch the process. The farmer eased the rig over a metal grating. After pulling a couple of levers inside the cab of the truck, the bed began to rise slowly. Quickly the farmer walked to the rear of the truck and loosened the tailgate, allowing it to swing open. Soon the bed was high in the air and, with dust and chaff swelling in the cool breeze, the corn fell unimpeded into the hole.
While the corn was pouring out of the bed, a man holding a tin cup came from inside the office. He placed the cup under the flow of corn until it was full, then hastily retreated back into the office. The preacher then asked the farmer about this man’s peculiar action.
The farmer explained that the people at the grain elevator want to know the weight of the grain without the moisture in it, not the weight of the moisture in the grain. So they take one cup of corn from the truck and test it to determine how much of its weight is actually moisture. By testing the cup of corn and finding the percentage of moisture in it, they can determine what percentage of the weight in the entire load of grain is actually moisture and should be subtracted. That means that the entire shipment of corn is judged by one single cup.
As Christians we may be singled out among a host of Christians as a lone representative of the whole. In the eyes of many people a single cup represents the entire load. For instance, whenever one well-known preacher [Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, Coy Privette, etc.] gets caught or is known to be unethical in his dealings, it seems to give the clergy in general a black eye for many people. I’m sometimes judged by the actions of others. Certainly that isn’t fair, but it is too often what happens. And you, as a Christian are sometimes judged by people based on their dealings with other Christians they have seen or known.
In a former ministry I spoke to several prospects about joining our church and heard the following response, “I can’t join your church because I know several folks who are members there and their lives don’t reflect the life God would be proud of”. Those folks were judging that whole church congregation by just a couple of members. That was tragic because it was a very fine church and they would have been blessed in becoming members. Yet it does remind us of how much one individual Christian life can influence others about God and His Church – draw them toward or push them away.
I can’t change the actions of others and neither can you. They are positively or negatively influencing people’s views of Christianity by the way they talk and act. Yet I can make sure that my life is pointing people to Jesus and helping to expand His territory. Since I’m a cup that others are judging the whole load from, I’m challenged to live my life according to God’s Word not only in the church but on the job and at home. Because others draw some of their conclusions of Christianity by what they see in me, I want to be faithful and consistent in following Christ’s teachings every day.
As Christians, we need to be aware that we are all “ambassadors of Christ”. The world is watching us – me and YOU!
Under the Microscope,