Have you seen the present day television advertisement for Toyota where the man has what is called a ‘poker face’ but doesn’t have ‘poker arms’? What an interesting twist…the man can keep his excitement for a great automobile deal in check in terms of facial expressions but his arms go wild with excitement at this great Toyota car deal.
That Toyota commercial has me thinking. Jesus was recorded in Matthew’s Gospel to have said “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill…Now I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14, 16, Message)
Jesus knew then what is also true today; people need real, relevant and relational examples of God’s generosity toward them. You and I are to be the light that exposes such generosity? We are not called to “poker faces, arms, feet and lives”? We are called to let the love and grace of God shine in and through us. However, it must be who we really are and it must be relevant to real-life’s issues. It has to be a vulnerable love with us willing to be in relationship with the people around us just as God is vulnerable and willing to be in a relationship with us. Real…relevant…relational!
I have believed for quite some time that the United Methodist Church doesn’t have an ‘evangelism problem’. The people called United Methodist have an ‘assurance problem’. If we were ‘certain’ of God’s grace, mercy and love toward us then the most natural response would be to share that real, relevant and relational love in our responses, relationships and our words. We’d be more excited to tell that story than sharing the experience of a great car deal which we so readily would share if and when it happens with anyone who would listen.
There will be no poker faces in heaven.“Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”