A few days ago I stumbled on this video of the singer Jewel going to a Karaoke bar with a ‘few friends from work’. Prior to going she had been made up to look a lot more ‘plain jane’ than she really is and in the bar she plays ‘Karen’, the shy quiet girl who needs to be coaxed into giving karaoke a go.
Of course as she steps up to sing she chooses one of her own songs and then proceeds to blow people away with her amazing voice. She is called for an encore and then returns to sing another of her songs – still undercover. She leaves amid a group of people amazed at her obvious talent – they are asking ‘who is this girl?!’
A little while later she returns minus make up – as herself and as she gets up to sing people realise it actually is her – she just wasn’t obvious on the first pass.
It’s not unlike the incarnation – the event we celebrate at this time of year when God entered the world as a baby – and many were oblivious. He lived among us, had a job, and did all the usual things blokes do. But he sailed largely under the radar.
It was only in his early 30s as he announced his identity and his mission that the penny began to drop – but only for some.
This is the Messiah – the son of God – the king of the world.
He had come among us virtually undetectable – there was nothing special or grand in his appearance that we would say ‘wow’. He was just a very ordinary man – but behind that appearance lived the son of God – the one who would take away the sins of the world.
And now we are his body here on earth – the ones who carry his name and bear his likeness. Perhaps we can learn from that video, that it’s better to surprise people with our actions before we make any announcements about our identity.
That will come but how much better if the first experience is one of ‘wow!
That’s Hamo’s Christmas thought for 2019…
I was doing some work in the community the other night, greeting people as they entered a building and one young guy gave me his name then said ‘hey do you mind if I share the gospel with you quickly?’
I was a little confused. Doesn’t he know we are God botherers and know this stuff?…
‘Sure’ I said ‘Go for it’ I was curious as to what he’d say. Sure enough he had a spiel. I can’t remember it, but he said it quickly and with each sentence he finished or verse he quoted I said, ‘I know… I know… I know…’
It didn’t stop him – he was on a mission. And he finished with ‘Right now you’ve been told!’ That I had… He seemed oblivious to my comments.
Had he stopped to ask some questions he might have realised I already share his beliefs (to some degree), but there was no time for questions – and no other real conversation. It was weird. Odd… I’d heard about him around the place, and now I’d met him.
Its not an approach I recommend for having people listen to your message. He didn’t ‘assess the need’ and respond appropriately. He just charged in.
As I write Firefighter crews have been toiling for 4 days now, trying to get on top of the fires raging around the bush near us. (We are safe and unaffected personally). They have trained for this, prepared and are fit and ready, so that when this moment comes they can give it all they’ve got. And we love them for it.
Our Surf life savers are the same. They train, prepare and wait for the moment. Then they act to offer help and rescue to those in need.
Perhaps there’s a metaphor there this young guy would do well to look into. People really appreciate help when they need it – rescue when they know their life is in danger, but very people appreciate a random stranger spouting a spiel in their face.
I know – it takes all kinds. But I tend to feel we are better to respond to real need rather the need we wish people had. In the meantime training and preparation doesn’t go astray.