Each morning I pass by a busy intersection near our local middle school. And every morning, I see the same lady faithfully directing traffic and protecting children. She stands with confidence and is dressed appropriately for the conditions, whether there is sunshine, rain, wind, or the dangerous fog. She is observant and always on her guard because any lapse of judgment would put the children she protects in great peril. And, given it is middle school children she directs, I can imagine that the “thank yous” are few and far between. She has also probably put up with a couple of obscene gestures and angry drivers, as well. But she keeps doing her job. Because she is dedicated to that job and takes it seriously.
We Christians could learn a lesson or two from her–
1. We should know what our job is and do it with confidence. God’s Word tells us the “job” description of a true believer in Jesus Christ. We should know what that is and then go about it with confidence. There is such an emphasis on tolerance in this culture, that many of us, while being and looking like true believers in our hearts and homes, are not so confident out in the middle of the intersection. We raise a half-hearted hand to direct traffic and to “kind of” tell them to slow down, but we are afraid to say, “Stop! Do you know where you are spending eternity?”
2. We should stand strong in all types of weather. It is hard to do our job when tough times come. And tough times are not just the big stuff, like job change, death, or divorce. Sometimes tough times can be a long week of being unable to sleep at night. Or they may come with a child who is simply downright difficult. For some, it is related to children leaving the home or perhaps intrusive in-laws. We all have different weather conditions we face. But I think it is safe to say, we all experience different types of weather. Just like the crossing guard shows up and does her job, no matter what the weather, so we, too, should be standing strong with Jesus, no matter what the weather.
3. We should be dressed appropriately. Ephesians 6: 10-20 gives a vivid description of the armor of a Christian. Paul describes how we should be covered from our heads to our toes. And, yet, so many of us are missing a piece of armor. Perhaps it is Truth that is to be girded around our waist, or maybe the Breastplate of Righteousness. It could even be the Shield of Faith. But no matter what it is, when we are missing our armor, we become very vulnerable to our enemy. Any chink in our armor becomes a target, where we can be attacked and destroyed. We need to make sure we have on the whole armor of God, as Paul teaches us in this passage.
4. Apathy puts our children in peril. If the crossing guard was not paying close attention to what she was doing, the children would be in great danger. If she stood on the corner lazily smoking a cigarette, the intersection would become a difficult and very hazardous place for the children she has pledged to protect. Why is it any less important for us as we guard the hearts and minds of our children? We can never let our guards down. We can never stop striving to discern, protect, and make decisions that please the Lord within our families. There is no time this is tested more than when you have teenagers. Oh, the many times I have been tempted to throw my hands up in the air and shout, “I am tired! Do what you want! I don’t care!” At those moments, it is my husband who tells me, “we have to care! We cannot grow tired!” How thankful I am for his perseverance. It is critical to have this perseverance when raising children. To not have it is to put their souls in great danger. We need to parent with a purpose. We are responsible for these children God has entrusted to us. We can never grow apathetic or lazy in this duty!
5. We can’t care what people think. As most of us have already learned, there is very little thanks that comes for standing what is right. More often, we are attacked. But if we are standing on God and what His Word says, then we can stand with courage and confidence. What would happen if that crossing guard walked dejectedly out of the intersection every time an angry driver made an obscene gesture? And, yet, so many of us walk dejectedly away when we are criticized or someone disagrees with us. While we are to be at peace with all men to the best of our ability (Romans 12:18), we are never instructed to compromise. So, while we need to go about standing for truth with love and grace, it is important that we stand. Not saying anything when God’s Word is being compromised is sinful. We can never afford to back down when Truth is attacked. May we stand strong even when the heat of the fire starts to burn us!
As Christians, we have been called to be salt and light. God gives us everything we need to know in His Word. May we be like that crossing guard, standing in all types of weather, dressed appropriately, and always persevering. May we give little heed to those who criticize us unjustly. And may we hear “well done, good and faithful servant,” when we meet God face to face.