This morning I pulled into the parking lot of my gym behind another car that had a bumper sticker advertising the church he attended. He was obviously bold in his declaration that he went to church and wanted others to know. Perhaps this was a way to get others to come to his church.
His car also had a handicap license plate.
The irony is that we were both looking for a parking spot close to the gym so we wouldn’t have to walk so far in order to go inside to get some exercise. But he had an advantage: the handicap license plate that entitled him a spot right by the door. Fair enough. It is so appropriate that we defer to those who have some physical struggles.
Imagine my chagrin when a young man in his 20’s steps out of the car and strutted into the gym. Someone needed that license plate but obviously not him. I glanced around the parking lot and cringed, hoping that no one else had noticed what just happened. Here was someone boldly proclaiming his faith in God yet obviously gaming the system. He was contributing to the well-earned criticism of Christians that we are hypocrites.
Our weaknesses in evangelism are many and varied but at the top of the list is that our lives are inconsistent with our profession. We can all recall outbursts of anger or acts of selfishness that render our testimony invalid. The Word of God is powerful and effective in and of itself so my bad testimony cannot stop its work. But when I do not act like Jesus, I disqualify myself from being a tool in the hand of God to proclaim His Word. Additionally, when you advertise your Christianity and don’t live up to it, you make evangelism that much more difficult for the rest of us.
Bottom line: if you have a fish symbol on the back of your car, you better drive like Jesus would drive.