I ran into the lawnmower guy at the cemetery this morning and told him I had just come back from getting a headlight fixed. He said, "I hope he didn't rip you off." I said, "No, no, he's a Christian." The lawnmower guy, not a churchman, rolled his eyes as a smirk played on his lips: "Well, you can't spread that one too thin."
It was a trenchant comment, and I had it coming. I, a Christian, have not always lived up to the name-and evidently neither have some others. Old Bob must sometimes have encounters with self-professed followers of Jesus who don't follow Him down the straight and narrow but opt for the wide road.
It could be that Bob's problem is just with God, of course. But sometimes we Christians have to own up to our bad press and think about it. The Apostle Paul was speaking to believers, after all, when he said:
"The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you" (Romans 2:24).
"Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame" (1 Corinthians 15:34).
Now that our own souls are saved, we are supposed to save others:
"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30).
"Save others by snatching them out of the fire …" (Jude 23).
Paul was very careful how he lived: "So that by all means I might save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22). Just as you "capture" more flies with honey than vinegar, you capture more souls for Christ with integrity and walking the walk than with just being called a Christian and living like the world.
"Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked" (1 John 2:6).
Jesus took no shortcuts, plied only narrow roads, and never got his righteousness spread so thin that you would have to smirk at the suggestion that he was a man of honor.