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It’s become common to display stickers on the rear of your car to promote school spirit, kids’ activities, vacation destinations, and a myriad of other passions.  I enjoy them, and I conjure up images of the passengers based on what they endorse.  As a runner, I’m particularly fond of the stickers touting mileage, and the “0.0” I saw recently takes the prize for hilarity.  I was disheartened, however, when a “26.2” recently sped past me recklessly, cutting off cars along the way.  A long, low “du-u-ude” went through my head.  I had no idea what was going on in the driver’s life and had no business “dude”-ing him with judgment.  I’ve received more than my share of speeding tickets.  But, it was disappointing to watch a runner – or someone entrusted with a runner’s car – give “26.2” a momentary bad name.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

I subscribe to a short, daily e-devotional, and one recently conveyed the message that you shouldn’t wear a cross around your neck if all you do is complain about the one on your back.  My friend Laura who subscribes to the same devotional told me about it before I read it.  It sounded like thoughtful, wise advice coming from my friend, but when I sat down with my in-box and let the words sink in, my heart sank.  I have a necklace with a small cross I wear often.  I thought about how frequently I fail to reflect God’s light and follow His commands.  I felt like a fraud and started to question whether I should ever wear my cross necklace again.  As I stared at the words, however, I realized I was getting it wrong … again.  If I only wore my necklace when I was getting it right, it would collect dust, and I’d be missing the most important message of the cross – God’s love and forgiveness.  I don’t wear my cross because I always get it right; I wear it because I can’t get anything right without Him and I need His forgiveness every day.  Through His grace and the cross, I’m forgiven.  I’m married, and while I’m not a perfect wife, I wear my wedding ring.  It’s a symbol of my commitment and a reminder to strive for improvement.  The ring itself does not make me married, but it shows the world I am committed.  I realize my necklace is only a material item that doesn’t itself make my faith genuine.  But, it’s a symbol of my commitment to God and a reminder to seek Him constantly.  The devotion reminded me my necklace is more than a piece of jewelry.  I need to walk the talk – and the symbol.

Dear God, please help us strive to be the best representatives of You we can.