Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
"You're one of those Christians, Brian, what should I do?" It wasn't the first time I'd heard words like that, and it wouldn't be the last. It came from a hall mate of mine when I was in college at Chapel Hill. A down the hall acquaintance had gotten into some relationship trouble with his girlfriend. He'd made some bad mistakes and knew maybe the relationship was over. He knew he really didn't deserve a second chance. And he wasn't asking me as a close friend. He wasn't asking me as one dude to another. He was asking me with pleading eyes because he seemed to expect I was some sort of expert or amateur in the subject of grace, something of which he was clearly in need.
I did not feel like an expert, but I realized very much in that moment I had to know at least a little more than nothing, a certain familiarity of personal experience in my faith that he was searching for in that vulnerable moment. He had pegged me - one of those Christians. And in his estimation, that made me qualified to give him the advice he needed. I cared enough to listen. Maybe I cared enough to share some wisdom. I don't remember what I told him. I don't know if it was any help. I do know how humbling it felt to be asked and how much I prayed in that moment that the Spirit would give me the words he needed.
When we declare ourselves as believers, whether by the clothes or symbols we wear, the words we speak, the social media we share, we are marked, for better and for worse. Scripture tells us that we should always be ready to give an account for our faith, but it's truthful in its warnings that this will not be easy. Do we live in such ways that people approach us and accusingly say, "You're one of those Christians, what should I do?" And do we pray, worship, and study scripture so we are prepared to give a worthy answer? I don't know if I was ready to answer my hall mate that day.
But I've spent a lot of time since then trying to be ready for that same question. Who in your life might ask you? Who is already asking you? What will you say? I hope we will study together in worship and our small groups and always be ready to answer. This Sunday is Scout Sunday, and their motto is Be Prepared. Come join us as we prepare together.