It was quite a chilly, Sunday morning. I, Mom and Dad were getting ready for the Sunday mass. I was fourteen at the time; with a young but growing faith in Christ. Eventually, everyone was done with dressing up, breakfast and was ready to leave. Everyone . . . except me.
I was still in my room, surfing and texting on my phone!! It was me they were waiting for, but it seemed I wasn’t going to come out any sooner!
“Hey, Dave,” called Dad from the living room, “we can’t wait any longer—we’re moving. You’d have to take the public transport.” Which was the dala-dala—a small commercial bus which moved within the city limits, and only through main roads. Oh, how I hated taking the dala-dala on Sundays!
As soon as they drove away, I came to my senses and actually began rushing up. I quickly put on a blue/white striped shirt, tucked it nicely in my solid-black linen trousers. I then carried my large-sized Bible and rushed to the bust stop.
On the minute I got there, a dala-dala stopped by, which was more than pleasured to accommodate me. It took less than ten minutes to reach my next stop.
I climbed down the small bus, held my Bible firmly against my belly (so no one in the bus behind me could see it) and didn’t move until the dala-dala finished loading more passengers and sped away. As I stated earlier, dala-dalas move only through main roads so I had to do some extra strolling to get to my final destination.
I was now facing directly a somewhat rough road—partially filled with pedestrians and some moving cars—which led directly to the church, just a few hundred meters away.
As I began moving I untucked my shirt on the front and quickly sneaked the Bible in there; my right arm pressing it tightly against the belly. People I came across on the way gave me some really strange looks as if I was some lunatic kid who just escaped with a box of candy from an asylum. I knew all right it was because of the clearly visible, large, box-shaped bulge on my shirt. Deep down, their stares at me were grievously discomforting, but I kept moving—even faster!
Finally I arrived at the main gate of the church. Some twenty metres away, in the parking lot, mom and dad were seated on the front seat, waiting for the first Mass to end so they could get in for the Second. Oh! So I wasn’t late after all! I started walking towards them.
Dad was the first to spot me. He then nudged Mom. They were now staring unbelievably at the bulge of my shirt, clueless of what was hidden underneath. I eventually got to where they were parked and stood by the driver’s (in this case, Dad) door, and pulled out the Bible from its mysterious hiding.
As soon as it popped into view, Mother laughed in utter disbelief. Father, on the other hand, was grim, looking sternly at my eyes. I didn’t have the guts to face him now...
“Why have you been hiding the Bible under your shirt, Dave?” Mother asked curiously.
I was just too embarrassed to answer.
It turns out Dad already knew the reason, without even having me telling him. He faced Mom and said, in a sad tone: “He was just too scared what people might think of him he’d have actually walked with the Bible openly.” He then shook his head in disappointment, and they both resumed staring at me.
I was frozen with guilt and shame; I could only dart my eyes here and there.
Dad was absolutely right. And there was no way on earth I could justify myself. It is true I didn’t want the people I just met on the way to think of me as a “church boy,” which is considered a conservative person. And that is the very same reason I hated taking dala-dalas when going to church on Sundays.
Here is what 2 Timothy 1:8 tells us: “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.”
It has reached a point when people are actually too ashamed of doing or possessing anything that pertains to God in the presence of others. They are rather more comfortable and proud of doing evil, primarily to please the eyes of other people simply because they don’t want to seem “old-fashioned” or “religious.” This often leads one to indulge into sin deliberately.
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. (Hebrews 10:26)
It is not suggested here that we should just “show-off” that we are true believers; for that would be ridiculous and far much worse. The main point here is that we should not limit our reverence and obedience to God just because we are worried what people may think of us.
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)
Great article. I have noticed that non-believers want us to let them live how they want to live. Over the years God has changed how I live and speak. Today I may not always like a non-believers ways or speech but they live that way anyway and do not seem to care if I am offended. As Christians we should do the same and not hide the fact that are trust is in Christ. We just need to live what we believe in an unashamed fashion leaving the fear of man behind us. Loving them no matter what in deed and word, never changing the message but letting the message change us and them if they listen. Blessings, Mike