Runners are funny. Dedicated, determined, and slightly insane (I mean that in a mostly complimentary way). I’m sitting in a small bakery café on a rainy Wednesday morning and several feet from me right now are at least half a dozen runners chatting together about life, the day’s activities, the weather, and of course…running. While they chat, they stretch those hammies, lift those knees slowly chestward, and are apparently trying to limber up in the warmth of the café after the cold of this rainy, early morning. Funny people, runners.
On my way to this café, I passed several of their type. Its still dark outside even now, so safety-conscious beings that they are, the runners I passed all had something in common; they each had neon colored, battery-powered lighted vests. They were unmistakable as the glow of these vests bounced along down the sidewalk, breaking up the dark, one after another like psychedelic ducklings following their mama duck. No question about it: You weren’t going to miss them, and that was the point.
Never one to miss a chance to connect a silly observation with spiritual thoughts, something occurred to me as I cruised past them in my manivan, dry and warm and not running. Here’s the thought in question form: Does anyone see me coming? Am I unmistakable in the darkness of the world around me?
There are several verses throughout the Old and New Testaments that indicate our position of being clothes in the righteousness of God. One such verse is Romans 13:14:
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”
When those nut-brained runners got up and slid all that Lycra over their limbs and laced up those Sauconys and Brooks (from what I can tell the preferred running shoes by at least the small crowd in this café), and pushed whatever you push on your Apple watch to start recording whatever a runner records, the last thing they did was to grab that trusty glowy vest and switch it on. For them, it’s about safety.
But for me and maybe you and definitely all those who love and follow Jesus, “putting him on” is about serving, about seeing the opportunities He constantly gives, and about being identified as one of those kooks that dares believe in the love of God that shakes us free from sin and shapes us into the One in whom we are clothed. We believe that Jesus is true, and real, and alive, and worthy of our shining in the darkness. It is He who lights our lives and makes us weird in a world of darkness.
So today, as you bounce down the sidewalk of whatever you day holds, remember that you’re clothed in the the Light of the World. You’ve got your own glowy vest that illuminates your life with love, with care, with dignity shown for all, with hands that serve the least of these, with sacrificial attitudes that drive you to give so that others can know that same Jesus.