Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12
The Cincinnati Cyclones and the Fort Wayne Komets were playing at the U.S. Bank Arena.
Outside the stadium, some Baptist street preachers were telling some of the attendees they were going to hell. One of the hockey fans who was so informed was Jake Strotman. Having had a few drinks under his belt, Mr. Strotman inquired of the preachers what gave them the right to judge him. Apparently, Mr. Strotman asked his question in a more colorful way than I have just presented.
Somebody, an unidentified somebody, decided to get involved in the discussion by hitting one of the street preachers. The street preacher decided not to turn the other cheek. It didn't take too long before the preachers and the lay pugilists were showing everyone that all the action was not on the ice. Mr. Strotman found himself fighting his way out from under a bunch of bodies. Swinging wildly, he struck street-preacher Joshua Johnson on the cheek and caused Johnson's eyeglasses to cut him.
Both Strotman and the street preachers ended up in court.
Strotman was found guilty of a low-level assault. Judge Mallory gave him a choice of sentences: he could spend 90 days in the hoosegow or he could attend Morning Star Baptist church for 12 Sundays. That's right. The judge used church attendance as punishment. Part of the deal was Strotman had to stay until the end of the service and have a pastor sign his bulletin.
For those who are curious, Mr. Strotman gladly accepted the church-attendance punishment.
As for the street preachers: the judge suggested to them that there are certain places where people don't want to be preached to. Being a religious man, the judge said, "I admire the fact that you want to spread the Word of God, but ...."
Now if you are like me, that story made you smile, a little bit. Then, probably, you shook your head and said, "That's a shame. Christians shouldn't be that way."
If you said that, you'd be right. Sadly, and in spite of God's encouragement to behave, we who have been redeemed by the Savior, do not always glorify Him in the way we live. In this we are not alone. Read Scripture and you will see Noah getting tipsy, David getting lecherous, and the disciples arguing about positions of honor.
The Christ, who always lived His life for others, deserves better from us.
This takes this devotion to a place where I can encourage you to remember the world is watching us. Our foolishness, failings and foibles may not receive the publicity this story did, but that is of little importance.
Our appreciation of the Savior ought to go far beyond sitting nicely in church. Indeed, our gratitude for the salvation the Redeemer has won ought to permeate every aspect of our lives, including the nights when we attend a hockey game.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks I am saved and repent of all the times when my worship of the Savior has not been reflected in my words and actions. Forgive me for the past and make me Your witness in the future. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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