Who or what do people see when they look at you?
I caught an interview with Venus and Serena Williams (female tennis stars) the other day. An NBC announcer sat down with them after they earned an Olympic gold medal in doubles tennis. The first thing I noticed (that is totally unrelated) was how large their feet are–these are big girls! After that, I actually listened to part of the interview (bravo, Jodi). What struck me was what they said was very special about competing at the Olympics: representing their country, the U.S. Unlike all other competitions, the Olympics intrinsically carries national representation….people compete on behalf of their country. I think I also remember some of our NBA stars at the Olympics saying the same thing…just nothing like standing for your country. I guess, it really hits home to medal winners as they watch their flag rise at the award ceremony.
On the flip side, peoples of the world look at our Olympians and see America. Hmmm, I guess this extends to other countries as well, there are athletes at the Olympics from countries we’ve never heard of or barely recognize the name of–their athletes are probably the only glimpse we’ll get of that country. They are ambassadors in the truest sense….
Wow! I just don’t think like this, do you? When you travel or relocate in another part of the world do you realize people look at you and see your country of origin? Do you realize you are a representation of your country? Hmmm…I guess I do it with foreigners, look at them and see their country of origin, just never thought of it coming back at me, I guess. Eeeww, sorry America…will try to do better next time!
As I reflect, it seems we can take this even deeper….who or what do people see when they look at us, say at work, or in the grocery store or at school, even in church? Maybe we belong to a well-known family and that is what they see: one of the Smith kids, or little Johnny’s parent, or Mayor Johnson’s wife. Maybe we are a teacher or a community leader and that is what they see when they look at us, our occupation or role. Unfortunately, some only see our skin color, the brand of our clothing or how well groomed we are…
Is there the slightest chance they’ll see Jesus? Could it be they see that we represent the One we claim allegiance to above all others? Do we realize we are, in actuality, ambassadors for God? 2 Corinthians 5:20 says “we are ambassadors for Christ”. YIKES! I don’t know about you, but this makes my knees rattle! Why? Because, like all those Olympic athletes in Beijing, others are sniffing out, via our way of being in the world, what our Homeland is like, what our People are like, Whom we stand for, what Beliefs we hold true.
Then there is the One we represent…the One we stand before and claim allegiance to above all else. Can we look Him in the eye? Can He smile and congratulate us on a job well done? Do our Homeland dwellers gather around us and cheer as we run the Race set before us? Do they even recognize us as one of their own?
Not sure what people see? Ask an honest person and brace yourself for the truth. What we are inside invariably manifests itself outside, so what they see is probably a reflection of what is on the inside.
If we invite the truth and ask for God’s healing for the places we’re off, He is able and willing to blast the darkness with His Light, if we let Him. As His Light infiltrates our being we become beings of Light and that Light shines forth and blazes “God”. We don’t have to act like an ambassador for God, because who we are is like a neon sign flashing “Jesus”. (“If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light” Jesus in Luke 11:36a) People can see it, and the Light we emit brings healing to the nations, yeah, to dwellers of other homelands.The way I see it, other homelands can either be geographical places OR heart places (our allegiance, our focus, dictates our heart homeland).
Healing of the nations… Once light bearers we are “blameless and pure, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and depraved generation, in which [we] shine like stars in the universe.” (Philippians 2:15). “Nations [dwellers of other homelands] will come to [our] light, and kings [leaders, people of influence] to the brightness of [our] dawn.” (Isaiah 60:3)
Homeland/Kingdom dwellers, who are we again? Peter says it best: “…you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. His own people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Here’s looking at you, kid…