High Noon Moments, Part Deux
I had an email on this subject that I think speaks more eloquently than can I. Let me share it with you and hear from you about whether or not this strikes a chord in your heart:
"I've thought about your call for "high noon" stories over the past couple of days. the one resounding thought is how few of these stories come to mind. I can remember a few minor ones like when I gave a pro-life speech in a class my senior year of high school. But that was really no big deal -- I wasn't persecuted for it. It shouldn't even be considered a major event. I remember confronting my high school football coach my junior year. However, I don't know that I did it for Jesus as much as for myself. The fact was that his form of motivation (swearing endlessly and belittling you when you screwed up) didn't motivate me, and I wanted him to stop it. It actually worked and his vocabulary towards me changed, but it didn't change towards the rest of the team. Once again, not really a "high noon" moment, but more a moment of me overcoming fear and facing a perceived foe.
"So here I am. I've been a baptized believer since I was 14 years old. Next March will be the 19th anniversary of this event. More importantly, I knew Jesus long before I was baptized as a teenager... So the question I keep asking myself is WHY: Why don't I have more stories like this packed into my Christian journey of faith? What have I really done for Jesus over the last 20 or so years? I've done a lot of "good" things, but these are things that I probably would have done whether or not I knew Christ. They were morally motivated. In other words, they were things that any "good" person would do. They were not things that stand out and say, "I'm different because of Christ!" I'm left with the impression that I'm really a big wimp. I want to be a MAN for Christ, but wimp is what rises to the surface.
"I speak to my children about persecuted Christians. Since I can remember, I've tried to remind myself that I am raising them to be martyrs for the Lord. I don't just mean martyrs in some abstract sense, but actual martyrs who will choose to give their earthly life for our King. More importantly, I try to teach them that living for Him is more of a task at times than actually dying for Him. I teach this but I question whether I am living it.
"More than "high noon" stories, I am reminded of several times when I stood at the crossroads and chose the path of least resistance. These were not monumental moments when I had a gun to my head and [was] asked to deny Jesus or take a bullet. I actually think I would make the right decision in that circumstance. However, it's the little choices that I've let slide by. I'm often prompted to pray for someone I barely know. Instead of immediately praying for them, I talk myself out of it and say that I will pray silently, or pray later, or question how they might respond if my prayers aren't answered in the way that is desired. Other times the Lord will call me to give money or something of value to someone and I dismiss it as some emotional response. I rationalize how it wouldn't be prudent to give money to a person who would not use it correctly. (Like it's actually mine to determine how it is used -- It's God's -- given to me by grace only) Or how about the times when I'm in a conversation with people who don't know the Lord or are at least not speaking in a manner that shows they know Him? Many times I have let conversations continue down wrong paths -- never sharing the gospel -- never letting them know that I am a fanatical follower of Christ! I keep quiet in order to avoid conflict.
"What if it was by Divine appointment that these people crossed my path? What is the message I had to share was their last opportunity to hear the good news?... What if the impracticality of my money gift "in the name of Jesus" actually broke down a wall that previously separated them from His love? What if I actually chose to enter into conflict with my brother/sister and it helped saved their marriage? How many opportunities have I wasted?
"Looking back I see that my fear of man surpasses my fear of God in most situations. But today is a new day! This is a new season of life. The old is past and today I have a choice. A new chance to stand up for Jesus! I recently ended a fast and the overwhelming message I received from the Lord was what Samuel spoke to Saul, "To obey is better than sacrifice!" I was bombarded by this message every single day of my fast. the Lord was and is calling me to obedience. he could care less about my sacrifices. He wants me to jump when he says jump and shut when when He says shut up. I am to obey Him in the little things, as well as the big, in the silly, as well as the sane, in the loud, as well as the quiet, in the things done before the eyes of man, as well as those done in secret. Over the past few weeks I've done some strange and wonderful things just because the Lord told me to. None of these would qualify as "High Noon" moments, but perhaps they are preparing me for future "High Noon" moments. I certainly hope so. I pray that I will be obedient in the little, so I will have no choice but to be obedient in the big! I was to be a man like David -- a man "after God's own heart." I don't want to be a disappointment, a wasted life, a wimp, a self-serving egotist, an unrepentant fool, etc. (you get the idea)....."
I think my brother's email is brilliant. What do you think? Share your stories, comments, and insights. Another High Noon column is coming in a few days.