Everybody was dressed in their Class A uniforms. The full nine yards. Boots and shoes were shined so bright that you could go blind if you looked at them too long. Everybody looked good.
The Sheriff walked up and down the line of Deputies, Correctional Officers and Professional staff, shaking hands and smiling at each of them. The only people missing were the deputies, dispatchers and correctional officers on duty. Everybody else was there.
It’s called the annual inspection, and it is the one time a year when virtually all of the Sheriff’s Office staff is all together. The Sheriff congratulates some people who have done extraordinary things over the past year, and he gives his vision for the future of the organization. It’s an important time in the life of the Sheriff’s Office.
Each deputy and correctional officer also goes through an inspection of their duty equipment. No detail is left unchecked, everything is inspected and gone over with a fine-toothed comb. The inspection is an annual affair and is vital to the mission of the Sheriff’s Office.
Have you ever felt like you were being inspected? If you have ever professed publicly that you are a Christian, trust me, you’re being inspected daily.
I firmly believe that the people around us who do not know Christ are looking at Christians every day to see if what we say and do line up with what we say we believe. If it doesn’t, they reject out of hand our message. More importantly, they reject the Savior who died for them and offers eternal life.
Just like the deputies need to keep their equipment in working order, we Christians need to keep our Christian lives in order. We have to make sure that the way we talk, the way we deal with others, indeed every portion of our lives, is a reflection of Jesus.
Mohandas Ghandi is quoted as saying, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” It breaks my heart to think that somebody may look at my life and think the same thing. The problem is, I know that it has happened. Every time I yelled at an umpire or somehow let my temper get the best of me, I became everything that Jesus is not. It disappoints me, and I am sure it disappoints him, too.
We need to live every day, every moment as if someone we love and care about is watching us. We need to make sure that our actions are a good representation of Christ. We need to make sure that our lives can pass inspection.
How do we do it? We have to spend time in God’s Word. We must understand just how God wants us to represent him. The Sheriff’s Office has very strict uniform standards. Every item on the uniform has to be just right. There is no “close enough,” it’s either right or it isn’t. It’s the same way with representing Christ. There is no close enough, we either do it right or we do it wrong. Is that a lot of pressure? You bet! But we don’t have to do it alone, we have God’s promises. Romans 8:30 says, “And having chosen us, he called us to come to Him; and when we came, he declared us “not guilty,” filled us with Christ’s goodness, gave us right standing with Himself, and promised us His glory.”
And just in case you think this is an option, it isn’t. Philippians 1:27, 28 says, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel.”
So, are you passing inspection? If not, time to shine your boots, read your Bible, and become the person who represents God as he deserves to be represented.
Striving to pass inspection… Jerry