It was a bit early for the shock of the pink. My bleary eyes were arrested by this site on the morning dog-prayer-walk.
Someone wants to make a statement. Someone wants to be noticed. Someone is either very bold, or very colourblind.
Standing out from the crowd is something anyone can do in one way or another if they want to. The question is the motive behind it. Now, I have no idea of the underlying motive prompting the narrow-boat owners to splash the pink, but I do know they could hardly be surprised if someone stopped to ask them, “Why?”
This issue of standing out is a tricky one for a disciple of Jesus. If we are asked, “Do you want to look different from the rest of the world?”, there is really no right answer. If we say, “Yes”, we could be accused of self-righteousness, and if we say, “No”, we could be accused of assimilation into the standards of this world. So what is one to do? Well, let me share with you the words of a friend of mine. It goes back to last Friday night at a church meeting.
Lolu started his talk on Acts 4 with this strange assertion on the first slide of his PowerPoint presentation: “You Do Not Need To Be Bold”. The congregation looked at one another in confusion. What did he mean? I thought all Christians were meant to be bold. Jesus was.
But his point was well made. You see, although the boldness of Peter and John was obvious to those around them, “..they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men…” (Acts 4:13 NIV11) the real question was, where did this boldness come from?
Lolu pointed us back to something Jesus said earlier, “make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” (Luke 21:14–15 NIV11) If we focus on the “I need to be bold” approach we become self-focussed and it ends up being about us, not God. However, there is an alternative approach.
We can decide to trust Jesus for two things:
- He will only put us into situations that we can handle – with his help
- Whatever situation we find ourselves in, Jesus will give us the words to say