“You’re going to New York City? Fantastic! Have you ever been there?”
Tiffany, hairdresser and New York native, energetically snipped at my hair, as she bubbled with enthusiasm over the news. Another teacher from my school and I were going to the Big Apple to attend a workshop.
“This will be my first visit,” I told her. “To tell you the truth, I’m a bit nervous.”
“Well, Honey, just try not to look like a tourist and you’ll be fine.”
My eyes must have given away my cluelessness.
Tiffany took me under her wings of experience. “OK, number one. Don’t take your map out in public. That’s a dead giveaway. And number two: Don’t look up at the buildings and study the architecture. Nobody does that in New York.”
She shared more with me that day, but those are the only two rules I remember.
A few weeks later, D. and I were on our way.
We arrived the day before the workshop began, enabling us to do some sightseeing that afternoon. Tiffany would have been so proud as we studied our maps in the privacy of our room, determining our itinerary.
All went according to plan. D. and I disembarked at the precise station we had chosen, trotted up the stairs, and headed for the corner, to cross the street. There we stood, waiting for the light to turn green.
Tiffany’s words echoed in my head. “Don’t look up at the buildings and study the architecture.” I kept my eyes on the street light.
A gentleman came up beside us. I did not smile; didn’t even look at him. The light held my attention.
“Ya not from New Yawk, ah ya?” he suddenly asked.
WHAT?! How could he tell? Not even a corner of a map was peeking from either of our purses. Had D. forgotten Rule #2 and looked up at the buildings?
His answer indicated Tiffany had forgotten to mention one important rule.
“Nobody pays attention to the lights,” he said. “Ya just cross when the traffic cleahs.”
With a quick smile, he was gone, even though the light was still red.
That experience planted a question in my mind: Can people tell from my behavior that I’m a Christian, as quickly as that gentleman could tell D. and I were not New Yorkers?
What kind of behaviors would identify me as a believer in Jesus?
How quickly might a stranger pick up on the fact that my true home is with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8)? I’m just a tourist here.
Oh, Heavenly Father, may I be mindful that everywhere I go people may be watching. I do NOT want to spoil their opinion of you because of what I say or do. Rather, may my words and actions quickly identify who I am: a daughter of the King, a resident of your kingdom. May my choices draw others to you.
(Photo credits: Wikipedia.org and kaysha)