Is this their obituary?

I once heard a joke about a rather disreputable individual who died. The person who was asked to give the eulogy knew full well the character of the man and was suitably wracked with dread as culture dictated that he not only tells the truth about the deceased but also say something positive. Telling the truth was not going to be a problem but saying something positive was going to be a big ask. So come the funeral this is what he said:

‘As many of you know Mr Robbins could not be described as a man of a clean character. He treated his family terribly, on reaching eighteen he threw each of his children out onto the street to earn their living with only the clothes on their back. In his business dealings he had no care for those he ripped off. In addition to this he had numerous affairs and even more children as a result, he treated his wife so abysmally it shortened her life, and he didn’t even bother to attend her funeral.’ He then paused and added finally ‘But compared to his brother he was a saint!’

Yes, that was a joke. However, how many times have we on hearing of a tragic accident where somebody has either lost their life or indeed suffered life-changing injuries (occasionally this has occurred as the result of the person concerned carrying out criminal activities) then heard them lionised by their employer or those close to them with phrases like ‘He would have never harmed anyone’ ‘They were a model employee with an impeccable record.’ When we hear this, we are truly amazed as they seem to be a completely different person to the one we might know. This certainly happened to me recently and I found myself laughing aloud as what I heard bore no resemblance to the person I knew.

It made me think what people would say about us in similar circumstances. Is our witness for Christ completely consistent in all areas of our lives? I know that mine certainly isn’t, just get me behind the wheel of a car – there is simply no excuse. I think that most guys reading this would be able to relate to this. Let’s face it, it isn’t right, is it? There are so many areas that we struggle with or use the cop out that ‘That’s just the way I am.’

I remember overhearing a conversation between two guys at The Gathering back in 2019 where one of them challenged the other with these words ‘You’ve just got to ask yourself this. Could you take Jesus with you to that place?’

I found that such a challenge to me personally and is something I need to be reminded of day by day and moment by moment. The thing is that God Himself dwells in each and every believer through His Spirit. And there are often times when I think, do, or say things that fly right in the face of the core teachings on Christ-like behaviour.

Let’s just start today challenging ourselves with that question ‘Could you take Jesus with you to that place?’ Yes, it can be a physical place, but it can also be a figurative place where you say, do or think something un-Christlike. Even if it means just walking away and saying nothing when you feel like doing anything but – especially when we as blokes can lose face, when the temptation is to flatten somebody either physically or verbally! Just ask yourself the question ‘Can we be like that in Jesus our saviour’s presence?’