You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:13-16
Like so many do on Sunday afternoon, my husband and I recently decided that we would have our post-church lunch out. We went to one of those restaurants where you order at a counter, refill your own drinks, and dump your own trash. When we arrived it was clear that the employees were overworked and understaffed. The dining room was largely empty, but the drive-thru had the workers scrambling. The lady who took our order was friendly, but frazzled, and deeply apologetic about our wait.
While my husband and I were eating, we noticed a family sitting near us in their Sunday best. Mom was talking to her kids about their church service that morning. “How cute,” I thought to myself. As this family finished their meal, Mom gathered the kids and began walking toward the door. One of the kids stayed back, gathering up her trash on her tray to throw away. Mom stood by the door, instructing her child to leave the tray so that the already overwhelmed workers could pick it up later. The girl hesitated, once more beginning to move towards the trash bin. “Leave it,” Mom repeated. This exchange played out a few more times before the girl relented, put her tray back on the table, and followed her mom out of the restaurant.
Now, my aim is not to browbeat this mom whose name I don’t even know, but as my husband and I sat there in shock over what we had just witnessed, I couldn’t help but be glad there was no one else in the dining room. This woman, who had made it no secret that she was a Christian, was actively teaching her child that it was acceptable to leave more work for already stressed out service workers as opposed to taking an additional 30 seconds to dispose of the trash herself. I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of message Mom would be sending to non-Christians had any been around.
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. -Matthew 7:12
We’ve all done un-Christian things in public at one point or another. We’ve all said things without thinking. We’ve all had bad days and taken it out on someone undeserving of our ire. We are all human, after all.
Be careful how you live; you will be the only Bible some people ever read. -William Thoms
We should treat every interaction like a ministry opportunity. For some people, your behavior is how they view all other Christians and, by extent, the Gospel. Our every action, word, and encounter is a ministry opportunity. So live like Jesus lived. People are watching.