March 7, 2012

If You Mean It, Live It

 My husband and I were standing outside our car after spending the last hour on our weekly grocery shopping. In this particular store a cell-phone company operated a kiosk. Our teen son spent his time visiting with the salesperson and was trying to convince us of the necessity of entering the world of electronics and getting our own cell phone, because at the time I was resisting it.
Talking with your hands can be both a blessing and a curse, as I soon found out. In animated fashion I used a full range of motions to recap conversation to my husband. My husband answered back, a little animated himself, as our son watched through the back window, hopeful.
We heard a male voice call out. We had just moved to a much larger city and were learning the ins and outs of minding our own business, so we continued to talk and transfer bags.
“Hey! Hey!” The voice was adamant. “Hey!”
Together we stopped talking and looked for the source of the voice.
“HEY!” The man called again, and this time it was easy to spot him. He stood just two rows behind us with his hands on his hips. His dark eyes locked with ours.
2012 1507 page31“Are you talking to us?” my husband asked. “Do you need some help?”
The man took a few steps closer. “Yes, I’m talking to you. Stop it.”
The conversation about the cell phone flew from our minds as we wondered now about our safety. We had no idea what the man was talking about or what his intentions were.
“I said stop it. Stop fighting.”
“Huh?” My husband was as dumbfounded as I was.
The man walked over to our car and pointed at our bumper. “If you mean it, live it.” Then he walked away.
We both looked at the spot he had pointed to. The reference point was a shiny fish symbol that had come with our used car when we purchased it—the symbol many understand to represent Christians.
“But we weren’t fighting,” I started to protest.
“Your hands . . . you always talk with them. . . It must have looked like we were.”
My husband laughed at the irony.
I thought about the man’s message all the way home. “If you mean it, live it.”
We love our Savior and want to live His love out for others to see. But how many times have others looked at the emblem on our car and failed to see a symbol of God’s love? How many times have we done something, looked a certain way, or said something that wasn’t a part of what it means to live the Christian life?
Our calling doesn’t depend on our flawlessness, but we are called to be ambassadors. We represent the King of kings. And we are constantly under the light of the enemy’s camera, which is ready to record each misstep.
We thought about removing the fish from the back of the bumper, but decided against it. It made us more aware of whom we are called to represent, and it stands as a waymark to remind us of that privilege.
If you mean it, live it. All heaven’s eyes are watching and cheering us on.
Kimberley Tagert-Paul writes from Michigan. An internationally published author, her passion is writing for young people. She likes crafts, photography, and reading. Her loves include Jesus, her husband, two sons, and her energetic grandson. This article was published March 8, 2012.