I love stories from the mission field, both because they are challenging and because they remind me of how God is at work around the world. But sometimes, I enjoy the funny stories we hear about something that happened in the lives of those who have moved into other cultures to serve the Lord.
Like, the story about the missionary recruit who goes to Venezuela for the first time, struggling with the language. He visits one of the local churches and sits in the front row.
So as not to make a fool of himself, he decides to pick someone out of the crowd to imitate. He decides to follow the man sitting next to him in the front pew. As they sing, the man claps his hands, so the missionary recruit claps too. When the man stands up to pray, the missionary recruit stands up too. When the man sits down, the missionary sits down.
Later in the service, the man next to him stands up again, so the missionary stands up too. Suddenly a hush falls over the entire congregation. A few people gasp. The missionary looks around and sees that no one else is standing. So he sits down.
After the service ends, the new missionary greets the pastor. “I take it you don’t speak Spanish,” the preacher says. The missionary replies, “No, not very good yet. Is it that obvious?”
“Well, yes,” the preacher says. “I announced that the Acosta family had a newborn baby boy, and I asked the proud father to please stand up.” Oops!
We all get into trouble like that every now and then when we find ourselves following the crowd. It’s so easy just to go along with those around us, instead of making our own way. Or better yet, following the Lord’s way. As Christ-followers, we need to be reminded sometimes that Jesus is our model, the example we are to follow to live out our faith. And we’ll never go wrong if you choose to imitate Him in the way you live our life.
Think about that this week. How would your life be different if your actions and your attitudes truly reflected those of the Savior whom you claim to serve? Are you more like the world you’ve been called out of, or the Lord who has called you to follow Him?
I’m praying for you this week, that your faith will be genuine and that your walk with God will be evident to all those around you–including you! I look forward to seeing you again this Sunday.