“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)
You’ve probably been in a similar situation and not known quite what to do, and then pondered it over quite a bit afterwards. I am referring to witnessing someone doing something that wasn’t right. For example, several years ago, I witnessed three fellows grabbing coffee and donuts at the cafeteria where I work, and then — when they had waited about 30 seconds for the cashier to show up, and she didn’t come in that period of time — they quickly glanced around them, and, being sure that “no one” was around to catch them (except me, of course), they simply walked off with that food back to their desks.
These three engineers walked briskly, indeed, and it was obvious to me that what I was observing here was theft in the workplace. What should I do? Should I chase them? Surely, they would “reap” what they had just sowed … I didn’t need to worry about that. Was I called to “chase” these fellows down? Frankly, I remember feeling too much of a self-righteous spirit in me to even begin approaching these fellows … so I just let them walk right off with the loot … but quickly brought it to the attention of the cafeteria management, who basically responded as if to say, “Oh, yeah, well, that’s basically the way it goes around here.”
Incidentally, I have spoken with a worker at yet another cafeteria where I work, and she told me quite plainly that on many occasions, entire trays of “goodies” will disappear without anyone paying for them … this goes on on a continual basis in hi-techs environments … which is a sad but truthful indication of just exactly where man’s “heart” is at. Some of course, will try to argue that this bad behavior only exists because man’s basic needs are not met, but this notion is entirely debunked by these people’s behavior.
Now laugh as you will, but I was caught recently trying to be a ‘good guy’ when, at about 6:40 p.m. one night, I observed a rather kind-looking gentleman grab a single cookie from — yes, you guessed it, the “goodie bin” — and then slide right down the hallway without paying for it!
“My,” I thought to myself. “Jesus, what are you going to do!?” I exclaimed. What I meant by that, was, “Jesus IN ME, what are you going to do about this present situation? Are YOU IN ME JUST GOING TO STAND THERE AND LET IT HAPPEN?!” Trying ever so much to be the “Jesus in me” kind of guy, I boldly turned toward the fellow — by this time half-way down the hallway, and whistled sharply with that high-pitched whistle that is reserved for both baseball games, and exciting church services (to be sure!).
“Whhheeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!”, I whisled. “Hey, you!”
Now seeing as though there were about 3 or 4 guys walking back to their work, it is evident (now) that no one really knew which one I was addressing.
“Huh? Who, me?” my friend Rob answered back (now Rob is a Christian and I had just had a rather nice conversation with him earlier, and right by the cookie tray, as well, but he was certainly NOT the one I was addressing!)
“No, not you!” Then I gazed intently at the alleged “offender” and said, “You!” And I pointed straight at “that there man” who had just run off with the cookie.
“I saw you take a cookie!” I said sharply.
“They’re free every night after 7:00,” the man exclaimed back.
(Now had I been more of a quick thinker, I would have got him on that one, for it was as yet still 6:45 p.m.)
“Huh? Is that true?” I remarked. “Oh, well … I didn’t know! Please, … forgive me!”
Now since Christ really was, and really does, live in me, I was able to walk away from that incident without a scratch. Who knows, too, but that the man was gently reminded that it “wasn’t quite 7:00 p.m. yet” and, officially, it was not right to take the cookies without paying for them before 7:00 p.m..
Now this turned out to my advantage, too, as I (being moved somewhat for my desire for some free pastries, I admit) was able to go back to the cafeteria and strike up a wonderful conversation with the Christian cook.
Back at the caf, it was there that I met my good friend Greg, who works as a cook. Not wanting to displease the Lord, I asked him, “Greg, is it true that pastries are free after 7:00 p.m.???” I asked almost with a sense of disbelief.
“It sure is!” Greg responded.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” I responded back. “That’s utterly amazing!” (You can see that I’m not the type of guy who is used to “free gifts” like this.)
“But are you sureeeeeeeeeee,” I asked Greg again.
“So you mean I could actually take some without paying for them?” But … I knew it wasn’t 7:00 yet, and my conscience would not allow me to take them before 7:00, even though Greg said it was allright. “Well, everyone does it, and we don’t stop them,” Greg said. “There are some girls that even come around 6:30 every night to get the good ones.”
The blessing was simply this: That in staying the extra 5 or 10 minutes, by that time, it was, I was able to both have fellowship with my Christian cook friend, as well as get introduced to yet another Christian cook working at the cafeteria, through Greg, who then introduced me to him.
“Absolutely wonderful,” I thought to myself. “If I hadn’t waited the extra 5-10 minutes, I would have both incurred guilt in my concsience for taking cookies before the 7:00 start time, and as well missed finding out about this other wonderful Christian man that I now know is a fellow brother in Christ with whom I can now have fellowship on a regular basis as I see him working in the caf!
So you see, all you have to do is let Christ live in you. And he will take care of the rest. That’s what I did. A little courage, and a little boldness, and it will all work out. Remember, HE LIVES IN YOU. LET HIM. And then let him bless you with a few extra friends as you do so.
Christ in you, the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27)