Following the Crowd

A year ago at this time I was coming home from a wonderful week of ministry in Brazil with our missionary partners Believer’s Bridge. I am so glad to be a part of a mission-sending church, and was reminded of that again this past Sunday during our Missions Moment in the worship service.

I was reminded of that when a photo popped up on my Facebook feed this week of a “memory” from last year, when I was preaching at a church in Belem, Brazil. There beside me in the photo was an interpreter to translate what I was saying into Portuguese, the language which most of the members spoke. I remember hoping while I was preaching that the interpreter was doing a better job communicating in Portuguese than I was in English. And that reminded me of a story I heard of another missionary who struggled with the language barrier when he was new on the field.

The new missionary was in Venezuela for the first time, and it’s time for him to visit one of the local churches, so he 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, and chooses 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 missionary recruit 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 we 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.
TCASC ePistleThe e-newsletter of The Church at Shelby Crossings – 08.31.18