Living in a small Rhode Island town is a tiny world. Even an occasional trip to Providence doesn’t really offer a “big city” feel. So visiting the National Zoo in Washington DC several years ago was a significant culture shock for my family.
Setting out from our hotel in the morning, the blinding reflections from countless bumpers and rear windows shimmered in the heat waves ahead. We crawled along jammed roadways until the zoo entrance finally promised refuge. But even in the park we found ourselves engulfed in a throng of all nationalities and tongues.
Situations like this make me feel really small. As a Christian, how can I possibly make an impact on this world? Exposure to the mass of humanity can leave me feeling hopelessly insignificant.
Back at the zoo, we quickly noticed many small groups of children on school field trips. They were distinguished by brightly colored matching shirts worn to keep their classes together. The different groups were instantly recognizable. They had a sense of unity and strength, even though they were bound together by nothing more than the color of a T-shirt.
We crossed paths with many of the same classes again and again that day. Some of them even became familiar to us, and we gained an understanding of their general demeanor and spirit.
It gave me confidence that we as Christians can stand out from the crowd – but I guess the question is, are we trying? Are we noticeably different from the world? Are we seen as a strong, unified group? Or do we just blend in with the general population around us? If we hide our Christian identity, we’ll instantly fade into the crowd and separate ourselves from the strength and support of our fellow believers.
I left the zoo that day believing it’s easier to make a difference in this world than we might think. We just need to wear God’s true colors at all times.
1 Peter 2:12 — “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors… they will see your honorable behavior.”
– Ron Reid