Originally Written for 10/19/08
Yesterday we went to the State Fair. Chloe got to ride the ponies and the carasol, and we ate elephant ears and sweet corn while we visited the Village of Yesteryear and saw all the exhibits in the buildings. We saw builders of outdoor chairs, awnings, and sheds, intersected with peddlers of steam carpets, special miracle-cloths, and personal bug zappers, and had to endure the sights of thousands of political stickers and posters. At one point I asked Melissa if her father had ever tried selling his water systems at a fair (he produces, sells, and services RO water systems). We saw at least three people in the short time we were there selling some kind of water system – so I thought maybe he had tried it before. Afterall, if some guy could make money selling the personal bug-zapper or ultimate hose-nozzle, why couldn’t someone make a living something someone may actually need?
One thing I didn’t see much of, though – actually, I didn’t see at all – was people trying to pedal God. Not once did someone come up and ask me a question that impacted eternity, and no one ever wore a sticker that said, “Jesus Christ Loves Me” – though I saw plenty that claimed they were loved by either McCain, Obama, Dole, or Hagen. People had a lot of fun, and they ate good food, but I didn’t see anyone claiming to have the bread of life or the ticket to this ride we call life. Nope, didn’t see any of that.
Maybe it’s good I didn’t. I mean, how many people do you know that have come to the Lord through the chastisement of a street-corner preacher or because they paid money to see the “world’s biggest, smallest, fattest, tallest, whatchamacallit” behind the curtain. Maybe trying to reach people for God like just someone else at the fair isn’t such a good idea.
So I ask myself, how many other people left the fair thinking the same thing I did – people I had interacted with? Did they see him smile at them through my smile? Did they experience his love when I held the door open so they could enter? Did they hear his voice when I said “Thank you” or “Have a great day”?
Phillip Yancy suggests that the reason we’re told to pray for others is so that we can see needs we can meet in their lives. Maybe it’s the same thing with noticing God’s absence. Maybe I need to make a greater effort to shine His light in every situation I find myself in – even in, perhaps especially at, the State Fair. Perhaps the reason God allowed me to see the lack people proclaiming Him was because He wanted me to do the job myself.
And not just at the fair, either.