"You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?" Matthew 7:16
If a person were to put on a pair of running shoes, would you call them a runner? If they looked the part, running shorts and all and proclaimed to be one, would you believe it to be so? Far too often, the answer would be yes. Without ever having seen them run a race, most of us would probably judge them by their appearance and take them at their word, don't you think? We seem to do the same when we call someone a Christian (that someone even might be ourselves). They may look the part and proclaim it to be so, but who are they really? John Wooden once said that, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” And how true that is.
100 yards from the finish line at the Boston Marathon, three women did what few people would ever do.... they stopped to help a fellow runner. They had run the race, they had run 26.1 miles and they were tired. They were set to cross the finish line and then they spotted a runner who had fallen. Instinctively, and without pause, my friend who captured the moment on camera said, one runner stopped to help, then another and another until three women were linked arm in arm with the fallen runner helping her to cross the finish line. They could have passed her by and no one would have judged them. In the crowd of many, it would most likely have gone unnoticed anyway, but the bible tells us this about Christians, "You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act." This is especially true when no one is watching, wouldn't you say?
The world will truly know we are Christians more by the way we act than by our words. Like these women, are we willing to sacrifice our goals to surrender to the will of God? When no one is watching, will we show the love and compassion of Christ?
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son to be the example of the love and compassion that we should always be ready to show others. Help us to be so filled with the Spirit that we can't help but do the right thing when no one is watching. May we always remember that any prize received on earth can not compare with the eternal prize we will receive in Heaven achieved only by putting your will before ours every step of the race. It's in your precious name we pray, Jesus. Amen.