This is the summary of a story that I read in Dannah Gresh’s book “Five Little Questions That Reveal the Life God Designed For You”. Since I have been involved in youth ministry all these years, this story was all too familiar. We have seen this time and time again and it still breaks my heart and infuriates me all at the same time. We all have been and can be judgmental at times, but here is something to think about next time you hear that voice in your head. It is definitely worth sharing…… and just as a side note, this story appears in the chapter titled “Five Fears That Stake us to Mediocre Lives”. Here is the story-
I wonder how much glory we steal when we gag believers from showing the rough spots and wounds God has healed. Just last night after a basketball game, the principal/founder of a Christian high school met a woman who was a glory stealer. The guys had just blown away the competition when the coach called the principal aside.
“This woman wants to speak to you about Billy,” he said.
The principal smiled. Billy is a new student. He came to the school covered in tattoos and wearing black leather. He also came to us searching for God and, just after a few days, found Him. We took him to a youth event where the truth of Jesus, sin , heaven, and hell are presented to the students. Billy said that he could not wait for that short talk to end. He knew that he needed to respond to it. When it was over and we asked if anyone wanted to follow Christ publicly for the first time to please stand, Billy shot up like a rocket.
The teenage boy is not the same. His mental inquiries about the faith keep me grabbing for my Bible. His unashamed testimony challenges me to be vocal. His new, peaceful countenance calls me to praise God. He is glorifying God. It’s some story! It is easy to revel in God’s glory. Now back to the glory stealer…
“I was just asking about that boy’s tattoos,” the woman said.
“What about them?” asked the principal.
“Well, they should be covered up,” she stated emphatically.
“Hmmmmmm. Well, I don’t know if you know Billy’s story, but….” the principal began.
“Yeah, the coach told me that he’s new and he just got saved,” she interrupted. She would go on to use the term “got saved” many times promising that she really was happy about it, but……
“It’s a bad testimony”
“Someone else might have a problem with it”
“It could lead others to follow his example”
“I’m not discounting that he got saved or anything. It’s just that his tattoos should be covered,” she said.
“During a basketball game?” asked the principal. “When the rest of the team is wearing jerseys, you think he should wear something else?”
“yes,” she said. “I mean, it’s great that he got saved and everything, but….”
She couldn’t see it. Couldn’t see the brilliance of Billy’s face. She was missing the very beauty of this boy’s rescue story. She was attempting to steal God’s glory.
She walked off with her feathers ruffled.
I wonder how many kids in the goth lifestyle Billy will witness to because he is approachable to them? I wonder how many times those tattoos will open up conversations that lead to Christ? Billy’s past, tattoos and all, can be the very place God uses to bring Himself glory.
The woman’s shame comes in her attempt to hide and cover Billy’s past, gagging him from sharing his unique rescue story.
She’s a glory stealer.
Don’t let glory stealers gag you from sharing your rescue story. And don’t let fear gag you either.