August 28, 2019
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They're those guys who wear the dark glasses and they talk to their wrist and wear that trademark stone face. Yep! They're the almost legendary Secret Service agents who guard the life of the President of the United States.
But even the President himself was joking about them one day at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. A number of years ago, the President at that time said, "I had a lot more material prepared, but I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew." I'm not sure they were laughing. He was, of course, referring to new rules that were issued since a scandal in Colombia over a few agents' outrageous compromises. Their alleged sexual and drinking escapades suddenly put the Secret Service in the unwelcome glare of a media searchlight.
Now, some of the reports said that some of the agents might argue that they were "off duty." But the people who were answering that aren't buying it. They're saying, "When you work for the President and you represent the nation, are you ever really off duty?"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Not-So-Secret Service."
Well, that's when the news story became personal for me. No, I don't work for the President, but I represent the King - of all kings. So does every one of us who belongs to Jesus. We are, as our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us, "Christ's ambassadors...we speak for Christ..." We serve, not the highest authority in the country, but the highest authority in the universe! And He has tied His reputation to ours. What an awesome honor! What a scary responsibility.
So when we blow our top, well, we give the people watching us a reason to think less of our Jesus; when we backstab, when we gripe all the time, when we talk trash, check out a girl, tell a lie, look grumpy or we're in the dumps most of the time. Yeah, we give them a reason to think less of our Jesus.
Most people who come to Jesus do it because of a Christian they know. And most people who dismiss Jesus do it because of a Christian they know. We are either a reason for people to respect Jesus or reject Jesus. Now, in light of the eternal stakes, Paul said, "We would rather put up with anything than be an obstacle to the Good News about Christ" (1 Corinthians 9:12). So my little "fling" - in my attitude or my actions – can be a very expensive act of selfishness. Because on my part it costs someone watching me their respect for Jesus. And ultimately, maybe their soul.
I remember being on the island of Nantucket and I saw a lightship by the same name. It's just a historic relic now, but once lives depended on that ship. In essence, it was a lighthouse on a ship, and it was stationed in the sometimes deadly Ambrose Channel - which is a very busy but very treacherous nautical "highway."
Now, as long as it was anchored in the channel, shining its light, no ship would hit the rocks. But should it ever drift off course, it would draw toward the rocks all the ships that looked to that light. That's us! "The light of the world," Jesus said. (Matthew 5:14). If we selfishly, carelessly drift from Him, we pull others with us and risk their destruction forever.
Off duty? As the face of Jesus to people whose eternity depends on believing in Him? God, help me to always – always – leave the light on for them.