I have a friend who was wearing a bracelet. It was made like the Livestrong ones. The plastic, stretchy, fits anybody and says something cool bracelets. This one actually did say something cool though. It had that equation printed on it † > I < † > I < † that you may have seen before. It goes along the idea of Christ increases, I decrease, when I decrease Christ increases. A practice of making yourself less so that Christ is more. It was a pretty cool bracelet. The even cooler part is that when I asked him about it, he had to give it to me. It started as a tool to give people a reason to talk about God.
I liked the bracelet and the idea. Sometimes I wonder though, would I ever talk about Christ being more and me being less if I didn’t have to explain the bracelet? Do I share the good news as much as I share gum, a dollar, or my locker at work?
I confess that I wouldn’t, and I don’t. I’d like to work on that.
A lot of people buy T-shirts that have witty sayings on them ranging from the blunt “Got Jesus?” to the good old “Faith Book” or every other popular brand, Coca Cola, Mountain Dew, Reese’s, Aeropostle, Abercombie & Fitch, replaced with sometimes less obvious Christian sayings. Sometimes these shirts are funny, sometimes actually cute, and sometimes down right cheesy. I obviously don’t know every person’s motive for wearing shirts like this.
Most of the time, I don’t care as much about the motives behind the one wearing as I do about the reaction of those who see it.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus bracelets and shirts are awesome. I think they’re a great tool to spark conversation with people who are interested.
But I also think that it sets us apart. I think people who don’t wear Jesus shirts might think that we think we’re better than them because we do. I think people who don’t know what † > I < † > I < † means might be intimidated and afraid to ask me. I think people who are not on the “in” side of the crowd, get turned off. I don’t think that’s how Jesus meant for us to set ourselves apart from the world.
Because sadly, I think that people who wear these items but don’t wear the love of Christ, create a bad name for Him. I think people who don’t wear these shirts, but call themselves Christians and don’t wear the love of Christ, create an even worse name for Him.
I know I’ve done that.
Paul said that he would make himself a gentile among gentiles and a jew among jews. He made himself a slave to all people in order to be a slave for Christ. I have a friend who purposely dresses plainly so that when he meets new people, he can be what he needs to be for them to let him in, to let Christ in. He makes them feel comfortable before he dives in to the things that are uncomfortable. He wears the love of Christ and creates relationship. That’s wearing the equation † > I < † > I < † on a whole other level. That’s showing people the love of Christ through actions instead of a shirt. I think the impression that gives, lasts longer than any bracelet.
It’s not about us. It’s not about the church. It is about the name of Christ. It is about reaching the lost.
Today I want to be more like Paul.
Today I want to be a slave to all people in order to be a slave for Christ.
Today I want to take it to another level.
What do you want to do?