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The Closet Christian

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By Clark Reichert

I have been a church pastor for just under three years. I used to worry a lot about how to act. My old persona was that of a cantankerous businessman and I was concerned that I might leave the house one-day, forgetting who I am, and be short with someone or chew them out for some perceived incompetence. A wide range of behavior that served me well in business for many years might be inappropriate for a minister of the gospel.

As it turned out, my fear was entirely unfounded. From the start, I was an instant celebrity in Cedar Key. I cannot stick my nose out my front door without someone calling out; "Hi, Pastor Clark." Folks here seem to know me intimately although I do not know many of them from Adam. Acting like a good Christian is easy for me. My identity is always before me and eyes are upon me and impressionable minds are contemplating my actions.

It is a lot harder for my parishioners to be good Christians than for me. I live mostly in a religious sphere. My business, my worship, and my relationships are all part of my persona of "Pastor Clark." Not many persons have this luxury.

That is the challenge for religious folk, how to move from one set of relationships to another while maintaining the integrity of one's beliefs. How to be a wife and a mother, a businessperson, a best friend and still be a lover of God foremost is a daunting task.

Have you ever been to the funeral of a person that you thought you knew well only to discover that this person being eulogized was so much more than what they seemed? You leave wishing you knew more of this person.

It is a terrible shame that the many people that we contact during the course of a day do not have the benefit of our wisdom, our joy, and our peace of mind. One of the reasons that they do not is because we have not shared it with them. Jesus said, "Let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to your father in heaven." (Mtt. 5:16)

Do not be a “closet Christian.” Do not make your friends and acquaintances wait until your funeral to find out what a great person you are. Take the gifts that you have been given and share them with the people that you meet every day. God does not need you to be uplifted and joyous and a beacon of light in church. Anyone can do that. The trick is to be a light to others in the ordinary places of life where the light does not regularly shine.