Christians Are Always “In Uniform”!
By Shawn Thomas
In Matthew 5, Jesus told His disciples, “You are the salt of the earth … You are the light of the world,” indicating that we are to be witnesses and good influences in this world for Him. The light shines His truth. Salt enhances what it comes in contact with.
But He also warned us in that chapter that we can fail that calling by “letting our salt lose its savor” — that is if we fail to be the godly influence He intended us to be. Sadly, this happens way too often, doesn’t it? We ALL know someone who has turned away from the Lord and His church, by someone who claimed to be a Christian, but whose life didn’t back it up. Their “salt lost its savor.”
Christians, we need to remember that our purpose here on earth is to glorify God, NOT just to do whatever we feel like doing. And we have to remember that however, we choose to act always impacts other people. The old saying is: “No man is an island.” Your actions always impact others: your family, your kids, your neighbors, your work associates; whoever is watching. If you claim to be a Christian, you are representing the Lord in this world, and everything you do either influences people for or against Him. We’ve got to be conscious of that ALL the time.
Lillian Parks Leighton worked as a maid at the White House for many years, and afterward, she wrote a delightful book about it (It Was Fun Working At The White House). In it, she tells how during World War I her brother Emmett ran off and joined the army. He wasn’t old enough, but he sneaked in without his mother’s permission because he was big for his age and he told them he was 18. When he came home that night in full uniform, Lillian said at first, her mother turned pale — but then she looked at Emmett and said: “Don’t ask me to get you out, and never disgrace that uniform.” (P. 53)
That’s a big deal, isn’t it — not to disgrace the uniform of the United States of America! But as Christians, we need to realize we are not merely representing our nation when we go out into the world, we are representing the Lord Jesus Christ. If you claim to be a Christian, you are in essence “wearing His uniform”! And here’s the thing that many of us don’t realize as well as we should: IF YOU ARE A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST, YOU ARE ALWAYS WEARING HIS UNIFORM! You are not just “in uniform” when you are sitting in the church, or off on a mission trip; or when you happen to be wearing a church tee-shirt; you are “in uniform” all the time, wherever you are — and people know it. If you’re living one way in church and another way out in the world, it will turn people away from the Jesus you say you follow.
You may think you’re not “in uniform” when you’re at Wal-Mart or getting a meal at the restaurant, but you are! I was SO dismayed not long ago to see a server at a restaurant post on social media about what poor tippers the Christians are who come in after church. And then DOZENS of servers from other restaurants responded to her post, saying, “YES, that is exactly how it is here too; our restaurant HATES to see the Christians come in, because we know they are going to treat us like dirt, and they aren’t going to tip well.”
THIS SHOULD CAUSE ALL OF GOD’S PEOPLE TO FALL ON OUR FACES BEFORE GOD AND REPENT! That is the reputation we have in the world? That is how we’re representing Jesus in our community? Our Lord Jesus Christ is so gracious; He is so generous: He is so loving; He is so merciful to us — and THAT is how we turn around and treat the world in His name? We need to remember that Jesus said better than a heavy millstone is hung around our neck and that we are drowned in the depths of the sea than to cause one of these little ones to perish! Our salt has lost its savor when we’ve lost our witness in the community that way.
But this is about a lot more than just tipping, isn’t it? It’s about everything we do, everywhere we go, all the time.
We’ve got to understand is that you don’t just come to church and put on your little “Christian uniform”, and take it off when you leave that building. You are wearing His “uniform” ALL THE TIME. You are wearing His uniform in that restaurant — don’t disgrace it by your stinginess and meanness. You tip generously and treat people graciously — yes, better than they deserve — because that is how He has treated you! And you have His uniform on — you are representing HIM!
— You have your “uniform” on when you’re making that business deal.
— You have your “uniform” on when you are talking with your neighbors.
— You have your “uniform” on when you are in line at Walmart.
You’ve got to understand: you are never “off duty” as a Christian; you are ALWAYS “in uniform.” That’s why I Corinthians 10:31 says “WHATEVER you do, do ALL to the glory of God.” You are always “in uniform”; everything you do reflects on the glory of your God.
One of the biggest problems we have in evangelism here in America — especially in regions like ours that have had a Christian presence for some time — is that too many folks here have seen too many people who claim to be Christians, but who have dishonored God with their lives. And now these people are totally closed to the message of the gospel because the “so-called” “Christians” they’ve seen are “salt that’s lost its savor.”
That’s why we’ve got to take this seriously. That’s why we have to remember that our whole purpose for being here on earth is to glorify God and that we are always His salt, and His light, 24 hours a day; 7 days a week. Do not “let your salt lose its savor”! Remember, Christian person: “You are always in uniform”!
Shawn Thomas has been a Southern Baptist pastor for almost 35 years, he currently serves as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Angleton, Texas. You can read more from Pastor Thomas Here.
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