Not long ago, I crossed paths with a man I didn’t know, but he recognized that I was a local minister, so he hurriedly threw his cigarette to the ground and stamped it out.
“Did you put that out to show respect for me?” I asked.
“Yes.” He said, looking like he thought he might be in trouble anyway.
“That was nice of you,” I said. “But next time you don’t have to do that.”
I don’t like the look of apprehension that comes over someone’s face when he first sees the preacher—like I’m looking to find something wrong with him and scold him over it.
I want each of you who read this to consider two things. First, when people duck their heads and show fear at the sight of me it makes me feel very lonely, although I understand why they do it.
Second, if you see me as a representative of Jesus, remember that like Him, I’m glad to see you—you’re a pleasure to know.
A friend once came to visit me in a town where the people had had enough time to get to know me. He walked with me through the local shopping center and watched as I greeted the many people I knew.
“These people all have a similar look when they cross your path,” he observed. “They don’t just look glad to see you—they look relieved to see you.”
I can’t think of a nicer compliment for a minister to receive. And it’s something I aspire to, wherever I go.