Posted by: howvoicebegan | 18/06/2013

Of Signs and Conversations

On Highway 99 I came to an intersection, held up at the red light.  I was the first car in line so I was privy to see the street corner activity.  And on each corner at that intersection, people were holding up signs.  The one next to me said, “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.”

Each of the signs on the corners had positive messages, mostly direct verses from the Bible.  The people holding the signs were friendly, waving to cars as they passed by.  Of course, they couldn’t engage much with people moving past them at roughly 40 mph, so I turned my attention to the pedestrians who were on the crosswalks and sidewalks.  Would they pay attention, or would they walk right past the signs, pretending not to notice the sign holders?

Everyone walked right past them.  But as I was people-watching, I noticed that one of the pedestrians continued just 15 feet past the man at my corner of the intersection, and stopped.  There was a bus stop right there, at which a few of the pedestrians had already gathered.

So imagine this: a man holds a sign to preach the gospel.  Yet instead of putting down the sign and talking to the people at the bus stop 15 feet away, he turns his back to them to continue to wave at the cars driving past too quickly to ever have a meaningful connection.  Irrelevant, much?

He was too busy being another billboard for people out of reach to turn around and see the people right in his vicinity.  It made me wonder if perhaps he would go home and pray, “Well Lord, I tried again today, but nobody wanted to stop and talk to me.  But at least I know I did your will.  Amen.”

How often do I do that? How frequently do I try to catch the people who are well out of reach, and in doing so, I have to ignore the people who are right behind me?  And how often do I congratulate myself on those efforts, without realizing that my efforts were entirely misguided and ill-motivated?  Do I intentionally seek out the hard-to-reach crowd because it’s easier to stand with a sign than to turn around and speak?

We can’t afford to be irrelevant, nor can we afford to fool ourselves into thinking our approach is working when there is something that is even better if we’d just take a time for a panoramic of our lives so we can see beyond our intersection corner.  It’s time to have some honesty about our intentions and motivations.  Otherwise we might be forever relegated to being a silenced sign holder.

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Responses

  1. Spot on !!! I have had some experiences with political sign waving and have noticed how important it is for the sign waver to visit with the walk by … I believe Glen got a good campaign worker just by doing what you suggest the sing wavers do. Dad

  2. This is something that rings true in my heart. Our church, Eastside Foursquare, has gone out into our community and have a wonderful relationship with Northshore School District and the eastside area. Some of our men are in the schools mentoring boys in the lower grades and we do work for the elderly in the area. I think our Pastors have always had the right focus and pass that on to the congregation…DJ Vick is our Pastor and is one of the most humble young men I know. We are taught to reach those around us and build relationships to be able to share Christ with those we come in contact with at home and at work….thanks for reminding those you can reach to do that very thing….el

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