When Is A Witness Not A Witness?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

1 Corinthians 14:8 – For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (KJV)

Throughout my working life, my family and I lived in a number of different locations across Canada, and for a time lived in a west coast community which owed its existence to the fishing industry. Virtually everyone in the community was either directly or indirectly involved in fishing, and the bottom line of every business in the community depended upon the success of the catch and the current world market for it.

The fishermen took a great deal of pride in their fishing boats. Every spring they scraped them down and gave them a sparkling new fresh coat of paint. Every boat had its own name proudly painted on the bow or the stern. Some of the names were imaginative ones like Poseidon or Nautilus, while others bore the more prosaic names of wives or sweethearts. The boats were an idyllic sight as they lay tied up along the piers.

The single exception was one unpainted, ramshackle-appearing boat bearing the name Praise The Lord. Whether or not the owner believed that he was witnessing to his faith by naming his boat as he did, I could not say, but in fact the very opposite was the case. The combination of the name and the appearance of the boat became something of a joke.

As Christians, we have to be very careful to ensure that everything in our lives reflects our faith in a positive way. I get most disturbed when I see crosses inappropriately worn or displayed, or cars with religious message bumper stickers running red lights or weaving dangerously in and out of traffic. In these cases, what was presumably meant to be a positive witness actually becomes a negative one.

Continuing on to the end of 1 Corinthians 14, we are told in verse 40 that all things should be done "decently and in order." (KJV)

Prayer: Help us, Lord, to remember that everything that we say or do or display in our lives is a reflection of our faith, either positive or negative, and help us every day to "Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me." Amen.

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About the author:

Walter Haldorson <walter.haldorson@sympatico.ca>
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

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