Test Story 2

When Are You Going to Start Your Beard?


I’m nobody. Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell!  They’d advertise, you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a Frog – 
To tell one’s name the livelong June  
To an admiring Bog!                                 Emily Dickinson

 

When it comes to talking to others about your faith:
Do you feel like a nobody?
During conversations, do you refrain from introducing:
The topic of faith,
Your faith,
Your faith experiences,
The foundations of your beliefs,
Your trust and hope in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

Some of you may laugh, but I am actually quite shy.
It takes an effort to approach people and just to start a conversation.
I am reluctant to insert myself into conversations, even when invited.
For me, evangelism has been something to avoid.

For I am nobody. 
Everyone has a story, accomplishments, or bragging rights about something.
Who am I to say that my story, my accomplishments are more worthy of attention than those of anyone else?
That is not my place or privilege.
And so I wait for invitations that may never come.
And that’s okay, because compared to everyone else, I am nobody special.

Except in the eyes of God.
When Sue and I returned from San Diego, Bethlehem Walk was still “new”.
The call for people to fill small, scripted roles appealed to me.
It wouldn’t be me talking to people, it would be my character
And it wouldn’t be me talking about my faith, it would be the community.
But a funny thing happened.
Being encouraged to grow a beard for my role seemed a good way both to be better in that role and to hide even more behind that role.
Except I couldn’t hide the beard.
Even that first year, when I didn’t start until October,
People began asking why I was letting it grow out.
It occurred to me that it was important to not just prepare for the role
But to ensure everyone who asked knew the true reason
It was not to be Santa Clause for some party
It was not to keep my face warm on winter bike rides
It was not to participate in November facial hair fads
It was another way to serve God, to follow the path He had set before me of service to Him through service to others.

So now, when someone asks me why I’m letting my beard grow, I start with:
“Let me tell you about my church.”
The story is not about me as much as it is about the community of faith that serves the community at large
The conversation often includes things like:
Examples of others who participate in Bethlehem Walk (less about me)
What other activities we have at KGPC (even more less about me),and,
Yes, how long does it take to grow and what will it look like at the end.
The conversation often also leads to deeper, more meaningful exchanges of:
Stories of faith,
Living one’s faith, and
How each of us is becoming the disciple each of us is striving to be.
I now have been doing it long enough that people who know me
Recognize the changes in my appearance and relate that to my living my faith throughout the year, and
They relay that recognition to others and tell them of Bethlehem Walk

So now, I talk about my faith. 
It turns out that others’ curiosity about my beard is the invitation I needed.
God is providing me the opportunities to share my faith story.
Those opportunities form the path He would have me follow to evangelize.

So now, I invite you to reflect on your role.
As we strive to Grow, Shine, and Love
In what area of your faith are you striving to grow? To shine? To love?
What path has He set before you?
How might you better present the face of God to those you meet on that path?
Whatever form or action your “beard” may take,

          When are you going to start growing your beard?



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