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TONY ELDER: Our actions should lead others to Jesus

At its recent annual meeting, the association to which our church belongs did a rather strange thing — they elected me as their executive director. Some people have suggested that I did an even crazier thing by accepting that role in addition to my current pastoral responsibilities.

However, I’m enjoying serving in this capacity in spite of the busy-ness it has added to my life.

Last Sunday, I took my first road trip to officially represent the association at a church. I had been invited to participate in the celebration of the pastor’s recent ordination, as well as to deliver the message in the morning service.

As I did so, I was somewhat overcome by the sense that I was not there just for myself, or even as a guest minister, but as an emissary of the association. Part of my purpose was to faithfully represent that organization through my words and actions, reflecting its spirit of support and helpfulness.

I felt a desire and responsibility to seek to be a blessing to that church, as well as to leave a positive impression of our association. As believers, we should have a similar sense of purpose and mission. We are responsible to represent Jesus wherever we go.

The Bible declares that we are ambassadors for Christ (II Corinthians 5:20). Therefore, our words and actions should reflect His character. We should seek to faithfully represent Him in such a way that others will want to know Him too.

A few weeks ago I was traveling down the road when I noticed the driver in front of me getting impatient with the car ahead of him. He was making various gestures expressing his frustration and even began to drive somewhat aggressively.

I couldn’t see any cause for his overwhelming displeasure, other than traffic moving slower than what he wanted. Then as I looked down at his license plate, my heart sank. It was one on which the owner had chosen to place the sticker which read “In God We Trust.”

I thought about what a poor representative this driver was being of someone who was relying on God. If an unbeliever had witnessed his behavior, what would that person have thought about the God whom this man professed to trust?

No doubt we would all have to confess to having been less than stellar representatives of Jesus at times. Under pressure we may have angrily lashed out at someone. While experiencing hardships we may have exhibited a lack of faith. When in a hurry we may have ignored someone in need. And the list could go on.

Maybe we should try to live each day with a greater sense that we are representing Jesus wherever we are and with whomever we come in contact. What I do today isn’t just about me.

Driving down the road isn’t simply about me trying to get somewhere as quickly as I can. Interacting with that server at the restaurant isn’t just about me getting my food the way I want it. My interactions with people on the phone and on the computer aren’t only about me and my agenda.

I’m an ambassador for Christ. That means I need to think about His purposes and plans. I need to speak, act and treat people the way that would please Him. I need to be the kind of person whose life will draw others to my Savior, not turn people off from Him.

If you’re a believer, you are an ambassador for Jesus, whether you like it or not. Others are watching you. So let’s each seek to be someone who faithfully represents our Lord.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at revtelder@aol.com.