Summary: A quiet, introverted people can still bear witness if they will first determine to be obedient, and then will affirm who they are, where they are, as an opportunity for witness.
One of the defining moments of my life the day I was the first to arrive for class. I sat for a couple of moments alone in a corner of the classroom, waiting for others to show up. A young woman came in the door, looked around, and then said to someone behind her in the hall, “There’s nobody here.”
“Nobody here?” When I, in all of my 20-year-old glory, had filled a chair and was breathing my share of oxygen? “Nobody here?” When yours truly, admittedly with a lot less bulk than he presents now, and certainly with no clergy robe or violet stole, but only with a drab gray shirt and faded blue jeans, was taking up space? Nobody here?! What an insult!
But, I say, it was a defining moment for me, because that day I began to realize that I am one of those people who are not very visible, not particularly noticeable. As the saying goes, I am one of those people who just blend into the woodwork.
I got in touch with that even more last Sunday, when my son came to church, and one of you said, “Your son is a nice-looking young man, ALTHOUGH he looks a lot like you.” Although?! Thank you very much! I just blend into the woodwork, don’t I?
And I suspect a lot of you do too. You are a quiet people. Not many of you are like the kind of worker my one-time supervisor of mine said he wanted. He said he needed on his staff people who even while sitting down could stir up a cloud of dust! Well, that’s not me. You notice I am no longer working for that fellow. And that’s not you either. We don’t stand out, most of us. We blend into the woodwork.
A long time ago I learned the personality of this church. We are a quiet people. We are a people who do not like hoopla and fanfare. If you do something worthy of congratulations, you don’t like it when I call your name from the pulpit. You’d rather I sent you a little note that you can read at home, in the quiet of your own house. Or if you do something that needs correcting, you don’t want to hear about it in a speech at business meeting; even when you fight, you want to fight quietly, behind the scenes, blend into the woodwork.
And even when the Lord does something spectacular, a few of you will shout, “Hallelujah, praise the Lord”. But most of you will sit still, smile sweetly, and murmur gently, “Isn’t that nice?!”. We are so quiet, we so blend into the woodwork, that much of the community is not aware of this church, and has no feel for what we are about. That is an issue.
That is a concern, because God has purposed for us that we be an evangelizing church. God has intended that we share the good news. But how can we evangelize, how can we share the good news, if we do not have an up-front personality? How can we accomplish the purposes of God, who wants to reach the masses, if we don’t do anything more than blend into the woodwork, as bland little Christians?
Do you watch Home and Garden TV like my wife does? Do you see all those shows where they take those blah rooms and create charming spaces? Often one of the things they do is to create accents in a room. They take a chair or a couch that is so bland it can hardly be seen, and they give it an accent color – maybe just a swatch of fabric or a few pillows – so that it stands out. It no longer blends into the woodwork.
Do you suppose that the Lord, in His designs for your life and mine, could make us into accents that no longer blend into the woodwork? Do you suppose that the Lord of the church, who has purposed that His church share the good news, might give us an accent, so that we too might stand out in this community?
I believe that He can. I believe that even though we are introverted, quiet, and shy, God can give us accent colors that will accomplish for Him the task of sharing the good news. The prophet Habakkuk, who lived about six hundred years before Christ, gives us some clues.
First, notice with me this simple and straightforward phrase, as Habakkuk begins his spiritual journey. Habakkuk, facing the dangers and difficulties of his day, began with one ringing phrase: “I will”. “I will”. “I will stand at my watch post.” “I will station myself on the rampart.” “I will keep watch.” “I will”.