There is a restaurant not far from my close friend's house where I will never again have a meal. I don't think it would matter if it was the last restaurant standing on earth. I'd just find somewhere else to eat.
Why? Well, the food was good and the prices were reasonable. The problem was our waiter. He basically ignored us. The last time (emphasis on "last") we were there, we waited a good twenty minutes for our menus. He probably didn't return to take our order for at least that long, and the wait for the food might have been double that. He never came by to see if we needed anything, and we even had to demand our check after a long delay. Also, not once did he sincerely apologize for the service. This one person made what could have been a lovely meal into a very poor one an experience that has soured me to ever eating at that restaurant again.
In the business world, the "front counter" person represents the company he works for to the customer. If the checker is rude, inattentive, or just plain wrong, the consumer will assume the company is that way as well. If the perceived offense is grievous enough, the customer may never shop there again, and may advise friends and acquaintances to avoid the business as well. If he is treated well, however, he can become a repeat customer, along with providing free advertising to his circle of friends.
While God is certainly not a company, or a CEO for that matter, it is probably not a huge stretch to say that His childrenthose who follow Himare, in essence, in the business of Holy public relations for Him. When unbelievers discover Who we belong to, they will take our actions and words as a sign of what we value and, ultimately, what our God is like.
Even if our primary "job" in the Body of Christ isn't evangelism/recruitment, our actions have the potential to win (or lose) people for the Kingdom. Remember the waiter? I am certain that recruiting new customers, or maintaining old ones, wasn't in his official job description. Yet, his behavior influenced our patronage of that restaurant more than any coupon, billboard, or commercial ever could.
What kind of "press" are you giving to your Father? Each time you lose control, ignore someone in need, or go back on your word, you give credence to those who say Christians are hypocrites. Each time you show jealousy, get even, or badmouth someone, you provide unbelievers with one more reason not to investigate Christ's claims. Is it any surprise that unbelievers want nothing to do with Christians who don't walk the talk?
Of course, this principle works the other way as well. If our waiter had been prompt, polite and friendly (or at least apologized when he wasn't), the restaurant likely would not have lost customers, and in fact may have gained some through word of mouth. Similarly, exhibiting Christlike characteristics or apologizing when you don't can certainly draw unbelievers to us and, ultimately, to our God. Many people's salvation testimonies start with scenarios such as this one.
No one expects perfection, but behavior in front of others, especially unbelievers, can make a huge difference in your witness and testimony to God's work in your life. With God's help, we can all bring a true vision of our Lord to an unsaved world without causing too much "bad press."
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 KJV)
(c) Joanne Sher 2011
Joanne Sher is a Christian writer saved out of Judaism, traveling rough roads with God's strength. She loves to blog, encourage, write, and spend time with her family. Learn more about her at http://www.joannesher.com.
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