"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
Wallets come in all shapes and sizes these days. Now, you can even buy a wallet with hinges! Mine’s pretty basic: a place for currency (which is seldom occupied!), a place for loose change (what’s left after the bills get paid), a place for photos (I AM a Me-Ma, after all ) and some assorted slots for ID, bank cards and business cards.
I think it’s fair to say that you can tell a lot about a person from what they carry in there: if there are lots of “retail loyalty” cards, the person has a thrifty side, looking to spend less than full price whenever they can. Lots of pictures? Family and friends are a priority in their life. An abundance of credit cards can point to an enjoyment of (or a compulsion for) shopping. The absence of one, though, can hint at either personal restraint or a past that didn’t have enough of it. A love note tucked away, or a photo yellowed and faded with time? Now, there’s a sentimental soul. A fifty dollar bill slid discreetly behind something ordinary? Someone who’s cautious, prepared for the unexpected.
Lots of folks carry a supply of calling cards or business cards in their wallets. It’s a quick and effective way to say, “Here’s what I do (or believe). Let me do (or share) the same for/with you.” I carry JourneyWords cards around in my wallet. I “sow” them everywhere: at the restaurant with the server’s tip, in the ladies’ room, in an envelope with the check for my electric bill.
People can tell a bit about me from that card without ever seeing my face. Mostly from the scripture on the back: Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.” I believe that God’s Word, even in its little bitty pieces, has immeasurable power, and whether or not a person chooses to visit JourneyWords as a result of finding one of my cards, if they read that scripture, it is going to touch their heart. Even if they could care less. Even if they despise It. Because it is the living, breathing Word of God.
I once asked a man at church about a ministry he was involved in. His name was Russ, and he was humble and faithful and compassionate. He had been saved for years. He never “got over it” the way most of us eventually do. He invariably got teary-eyed if he had a chance to talk about how good his God is. How unworthy he was of what Christ did. How he was compelled to “work out his salvation” in the day-to-day of his life. Anyway, as I asked Russ my question, he pulled out his wallet and fished around for a minute. “Give me a call about that,” he said. “Here, it’s my last one. Gotta get more.” He handed me a little business card, light blue, rather nondescript. The name of our church was printed on it in bold letters. In smaller letters (“humble” letters… humble like Russ, I thought later), his name appeared. Below it, where most business cards would say “Operations Manager”, or “Independent Distributor”, or “Certified Accountant”, instead was the word “Servant”.
It spoke volumes, and was right on the money. Russ had a servant’s heart, and he was no wallflower. If it was something he could do, he stepped up before the need had been reduced to begging and pleading. He looked for ways to be a blessing. He looked until he ran out of cards, and then he got some more.
Why don’t more of us operate from a true servant’s heart? Lots of explanations could be offered up: unfortunately, most are more “excuse” than explanation. God’s pretty clear in His Word about priorities. Obviously, protecting and providing for family come first, by way of diligent homemaking or by rendering an honest day’s work for a day’s pay. Very next on that list is serving others. It’s not an option, although we have demoted it to the lower rungs of our priority ladders.
The Bible mentions “serve” in its many forms nearly 200 times: sometimes concerning man’s misplaced devotion to other gods, but mostly in the context of obeying His command to serve God and serve our fellow man. God doesn’t suggest that we serve, He requires it (Phil. 2:4; I Peter 4:10). Not as a prerequisite for His favor, either, but because…our journey toward Christ-likeness is futile without it (Mark 10:45). We can try with all our might to emulate Christ by quoting scripture, renouncing sin, attending church, dressing modestly, living morally…but if we don’t live out the love He died for us to inhabit, we are no more valuable for His Kingdom than a godless thief. The book of James tells us twice in chapter two alone that “Faith without works is dead (inactive, ineffective, worthless)".
It’s why we’re still here, you see? He could have saved my soul, and yours, and yours, and instantly snatched us into the heavenlies. But that’s not His plan. Because He knows that it’s by our cheerful obedience to serve others that His love is fleshed out, and He reaps What we sow (Corinthians 9:19). He’s taken the liberty of mapping out opportunities for us to serve to that end (Ephesians 2:10!)…enough appointments to last each of us a lifetime. We’re gonna need to get busy with those “calling cards”, huh?
Jesus will indelibly apply his precious palm-print to each one we offer up, whether it’s composed of cardstock or spoken in a phone call or wrapped into a comforting embrace. Properly motivated, we aren’t looking for a client or an atta-girl. Our motive is an eternal one: “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21).
Properly motivated, we are walking, talking “calling cards for Christ”, and no one will ever have to ask: “What’s in your wallet?”