EA, Jim, and I were eating outside at our local Chick-fil-A last night. I was thinking about getting an Ice Dream. But the only way I was getting an Ice Dream was if Jim got an Ice Dream. And the only way Jim was getting an Ice Dream was if he ate all of his chicken nuggets. Alas our toddler was more interested in running around the table and it looked like my Ice Dreams were melting away.
While I was distracted by matters poultry and dairy, two young women walked up to our table. One was around the age of EA and I while the other looked like she was in high school.
"Are you Chris Cox?" the older one asked.
Now, I am not in any way famous. I am not even in the same state as famous. Yet I have worked at a summer youth camp for well over a decade now and so occasionally people will recognize me or EA from there. 7 out of 10 times I don’t readily remember their name and I will frantically scan my mental rolodex trying to put a name with the face in front of me. She stopped me before I got into the E’s. She wasn’t from camp.
"We were in high school together. We never really met, but I was telling her about how you always read your Bible on the stairs outside the cafeteria. You were one of those people that wasn’t ashamed of your faith."
I was a bit surprised. It’s been eleven years since I’ve graduated high school. Humbled and a bit embarrassed, I thanked who I came to know as Megan. EA and I made some small talk with them and then they went on to order their food.
I don’t share this so that you’ll be impressed with High School Chris. Trust me. I was there and I’m not typically impressed with High School Chris. But it brought home one of those classic youth group lessons that I was always taught: someone is always watching you.
That presents a potential for a curse and a blessing. A couple of days ago, I posted a quote from Barbara Brown Taylor that every human interaction presents the opportunity to make things better or make things worse. The fact of the matter is you and I don’t always know when those interactions take place. You don’t know if someone will notice you reading a Bible and you don’t know what else that same person might see you do.
I knew all of this cognitively, but this flesh and blood reminder brought that lesson to life. Jesus told us in Matthew 5:16 to live in such a way before others that they may see our what we do and praise God for it. So as each of us go about our days, let’s make things better. When you’re with people, when you’re seemingly alone, when you’re online, make things better. You never know who might be watching.