I was walking through Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, Israel. If you have never been to a place of remembrance for the millions of people killed during the Holocaust then you may not understand the sober and somber feeling that comes over you. I have walked through concentration camps in Germany and our brief tour of Yad Vashem brought those feelings back.
Our group left the museum and went back to our hotel in Jerusalem. Later that evening I saw myself on Instagram. In a picture that was completely unfamiliar to me. The first thought that occurred to me was:
I Didn't Know Someone was Watching Me...
I didn't feel that my privacy was infringed and I didn't feel as though I was being stalked. I felt like I had been caught in a moment of reflection. Caught in a moment of private introspection. I saw the man that took the picture, Manuel Reyes (@soldier3335), at dinner later on and complimented him on his picture, though I thought his choice of subject, myself, was lacking. He told me he would send me the picture and that was the end of that, or so I thought. That thought stuck with me though and now I share it with you.
Lessons Learned In the Holy Land:
You Never Know Who is Watching
I have told the teenagers in my youth group here at FBC Kenmore that no one's opinion of you matters, except for God's. Though that is true, the effect and influence we wield over those around us is incredible. Through simple peer pressure, both positive and negative, I have seen amazing and horrible things take place. And I have learned that you never know who is watching you.
You Never Know Who is Watching Your Countenance
The first instance of the word "countenance" appearing in the Bible is in Genesis 4:5. We see Cain, through his own disobedience and rebellion, becoming disgruntled and irritated with his own brother.
I wonder if Abel saw his brother's face. I wonder if Abel could read the thoughts that his brother was having. We know Cain's countenance fell so it would have been evident. Abel knew his brother was upset. Maybe he did not know what about. Abel talked with his brother. We don't know if Abel was trying to reason with his brother. We don't know if he was trying to get Cain to understand the error of his ways. But we know Abel must have seen it. Did Cain know his anger was showing?
Friend, do you know that your anger, your bitterness, and your hate shows to those around you? You never know who is watching. It would not be surprising to me if Abel was only talking with his brother to try to calm him down. And Cain got more and more irate and ended the conversation by ending his brother's life. You never know who is watching your countenance, and you never know who you are going to hurt because of the emotions that are driving your countenance.
It is not about putting on a happy face. What I beg you to do is deal with the root problem before your angry countenance becomes angry actions.
You Never Know Who is Watching Your Consistency
Have you ever gotten tired of the same old thing? Go to church, ride a bus, teach a class, watch the nursery, knock on a door, etc. etc. Maybe you feel more Martha than Mary every once in awhile. Do you feel stuck in a rut?
Let me let you in on something a wise man told me, "A rut is the best thing to be stuck in, granted it's the right rut." A rut is safe. A rut is consistent. A rut takes you in one direction.
You may feel like jumping out of your rut and calling it quits. Maybe you just want to miss one service, one place of ministry because you feel that no one will miss you. People are watching you, Christian. There is something amazing about dependability in a child of God. There is also something sad about the many people that decide that everyone else can live without their consistency.
We have labored in the vineyard of the Lord
And it seems the world has stolen our reward
But God has not forgotten, and when He calls us home
We'll receive eternal treasures
And a place of honor near His throne
It's not in vain
It's not in vain
We serve a risen Savior
Jesus rules and reigns
The heavens cheer us on
We do not walk alone
Our labor, our witness, our faith
Is not in vain
You Never Know Who is Watching Your Compassion
Compassion is a very simple word to spell. It is spelled like this, "T-I-M-E". What did Jesus do when He was moved with compassion? He gave the multitude His time.
Your children, your spouse, your coworkers, your church, and your God can all see your compassion very clearly. We can all identify stumbling blocks in our lives that take up more time than they should. Stumbling blocks that we place for ourselves. Stumbling blocks that prevent us from giving more time where it would be more useful.
Not only can we identify our own stumbling blocks, those we love can identify them as well. This is not a prompt to find all of your wife's or your husband's time wasting habits. This is written in the hope that we will all realize that we never know who is watching. We never know who may be taking a snapshot of our lives. A picture tells a thousand words. Your life tells a story to those that are watching.