I was driving home from work last Friday, when a man on the corner caught my eye. It was a busy intersection, and he stood holding a large cardboard sign. It was hand-written. At first I thought he was just another pan-handler. But something was amiss. He didn’t exactly fit the part with his clean-cut hair, nice sport shoes, shiny watch, and an iPhone attached to his hip. Then I noticed that he wasn’t just standing there holding a cardboard sign, he was turning in different directions so that drivers stopped at the light couldn’t miss the message scrawled in black Sharpie across his board. I kept watching, wondering what it said. Then he turned my way. “I once was empty and lost, but JESUS saved me.”
Some would say, “What a nut-case.” But really, the guy didn’t look like a nut-case at all. If it weren’t for the sign in his hands, he would most likely go unnoticed as a pedestrian waiting to cross the street. I thought of the campaign at church, Do Something. I don’t know if standing on a street corner holding a cardboard testimony is what our pastor means by “do something”, but you have to admit, the guy on the corner was bold. I admired his boldness and honked and waved some encouragement his way.
Scripture talks about being bold. In Acts, Peter was bold, speaking profound messages from the Holy Spirit and thousands were saved (Acts 2:41). Paul also joins the ranks of the bold and courageous, speaking out for Christ even when it meant bonds and chains in a jail cell. I don’t consider myself all that bold. I would have a hard time standing on a street corner with an “I love Jesus” sign in my hands. So, what does bold faith really look like?
I love the story of Queen Esther. Talk about courage and boldness! She risked her life to go before the king with her request. Her risk paid off with the saving of thousands of Jewish lives and the defeat of thousands of God’s enemies. She wasn’t on a street corner and although she did go before the king uninvited, the rest of her story takes place behind the scenes at a private banquet. Yet, her courage cannot go unnoticed.
As the darkness of our world increases, the courage it takes to live a truly Christian life is also increasing. In America we’ve been sheltered from much of the persecution that Christians in other nations are facing, yet I fear that our day may soon be coming. Will we have the boldness and courage to stand strong to what scripture says and live our lives according to God’s word, or will we continue to compromise as so many have done, letting a little of the world in here and a little there until our lives no longer look different from the unsaved?
I want to be counted among the bold for Christ. It’s scary to think of the costs, but Christ was willing to hang naked on a cross, bleeding and despised, for us. So, maybe holding that sign on the street corner isn’t as bold as we might think. We have to live it! Live it even when others label you a right-winged religious fanatic. Live even when it costs you a customer, a job promotion, or even a friend. Live your faith with true righteousness. It’s the least we can do for our savior.