Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season. II Timothy 4:2
So, here we are, in the middle of football season. Not that I have any interest in the sport. In fact, I have never been to a professional football game in my life.
Well, not awake, anyway.
Years ago, when a man I did not approve of in the least occupied the White House, I had a dream about sitting in the bleachers at a football game. I have no idea who was playing; it didn’t matter. The sun was shining, and the stadium was full, except for a couple of seats next to me.
The main part of the dream began when the President and First Lady of the United States came and sat right next to me. There was a stir in the crowd; obviously, people were excited.
Well, not me. No sir, this lady was not impressed with them. I wasn’t going to go all gaga over “sitting next to the President! OMG! ” I wasn’t going to squeal, stare, ask for autographs, or otherwise make a fool of myself. In fact, I decided the moment I saw them out of the corner of my eye that I was not even going to look at them. Nope, I was here to watch football, and I was going to give my full attention to the game. (Yeah, right.) If they looked my way, they’d see one person who wasn’t going to fawn all over them. I knew what they’d done, I knew what their policies were, I knew they were ungodly, evil people. And so I sat in my smug self-righteousness, refusing to acknowledge their presence.
Sometime during the first half I spotted a couple of friends seated in another section of the bleachers. They were pointing in my direction, wide-eyed with excitement. When our eyes met, they grinned at me with a couple of thumbs-up gestures, bouncing in their seats as though they were about to take off flying. I didn’t know if they were close enough to see me roll my eyes, but I made it clear to them that I was above that kind of groupie-ism and was not about to stoop to the level of the immoral people sitting next to me.
At half-time I got up, stepped over the First Couple, mumbling “excuse me” without making eye contact, and made my way to the concession stands. My friends were there to meet me, still wide-eyed and bouncing with excitement.
“I can’t believe it! You’re sitting next to the President and First Lady!” one of them squealed.
“Yeah. So?” I replied in my coolest tone. They grabbed my hands, as though they expected me to start jumping up and down with them. They didn’t seem to notice my aloofness.
“Have you witnessed to them yet?!” asked the other friend, fully expecting a great “praise report.”
Pow. Right in the gut. My arrogance immediately melted away, replaced with utter shame and remorse.
“Um … not yet,” I stammered. ” – But I will!”
“Great! We’ll be praying for you!” they promised, and seeing everyone returning to their seats, we exchanged hugs, and I headed back to my mission field, a different and much more acceptable person than I had been moments before.
This time as I approached my row, the President got up and stood in the aisle so that I could take my seat more easily. I looked him in the eyes and smiled. “Thank you,” I said, and he said, “Hey, no problem.”
“By the way, I’m Ann,” I said, putting out my hand.
“I’m _______, and this is my wife, _____________,” he said with a hearty handshake and a gesture to his smiling wife.
“Yeah, I know,” I laughed. I was surprised to find that these were delightful people. And I was relieved that they didn’t seem to have any recollection of my inexcusable rudeness earlier. We made some small talk about what a beautiful day it was, and I was finding to my surprise that I genuinely liked these people! I was looking forward to seeing how the Lord was going to bring about the subject of the gospel, and getting to share with them what He had done for me. But to my disappointment, after a few minutes the two of them stood up, and the President said,
“We’re going to have to take off – lots to do! – but it was sure nice meeting you, Ann.”
But … but … but … my mind was protesting. No! They can’t be leaving! I haven’t told them about Jesus yet! But I just said, “What a shame, yes it was wonderful meeting you, too.”
I was about to ask the Lord why – why hadn’t He given me time to share His love? But I quickly realized that He had. I was the one who had blown it with my crumby attitude, wasting a whole half of the game showing my spiritual superiority, then realizing, I’m not superior to anybody. And I vowed I would never again pass up an opportunity to share Christ with someone – anyone – ever again, even if it meant just showing His love through kindness and respect.
Nowadays, with all the hatred coming and going in the world of politics, it’s east to get sucked into the controversy and into some unChristian behavior. I have two approaches that I try to stick with:
1.) Acknowledge that I don’t even come close to knowing everything that’s going on, much less knowing people’s hearts.
2.) Remember that the Bible gives us one thing to do in regard to our leaders: