I recently heard a popular pastor, let’s call him Rick, mention that when he first started pasturing, he and his wife were invited to one of those fancy dinners. You know the ones I’m talking about—the kind where waiters roam around carrying trays of expensive food and drink that you’d only buy for an occasion like an anniversary or a graduation. The kind of parties where famous people come. One of those kinds of parties (yeah, he has a big church).
Rick walked in wearing an outfit he often wears, pretty much all black, including a black turtleneck. Immediately, his wife leaned over and said, in a way that only wives can, “You’re dressed exactly like the waiters.” Oops.
Later, he saw one of those famous people across the room. (We’re talking famous for writing and speaking rather than scoring lots of points in games or looking pretty onscreen.) Rick kind of sidled over to a group standing near this guy who was chatting with his entourage, and he pulled one of those numbers where you pretend to talk to someone, but really you’re just eavesdropping on someone else. All of sudden, though, the conversation behind Rick stopped, and the famous guy turned around and looked directly at him.
I’ve been found out.
I know I’ve felt that way many times in my life. I remember going to a party in high school and lying to my parents about it, only to have it be broken up by the police. Found out.
I remember every time I’ve ever gotten pulled over for speeding. Found out.
More recently, I’ve often felt a bit overwhelmed by the reality that I know next to nothing about Chinese culture, customs, traditions and religious beliefs. Forget about Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Nigerian, Taiwanese, Moroccan or any of the other groups that are significantly smaller on Mizzou’s campus. As I prepare Bible studies or get ready for one-on-one meetings, I silently, secretly ask myself, “Scott, do you have any idea what you’re doing? Is this thing that I’m about to say—which touches my soul in a real and profound way—is it going to resonate at all with someone who has a completely different set of assumptions and ideas about how the world works?” Or am I going to crash and burn and discover that I can’t do this. In other words, get found out.
Going back to the story about the pastor, Rick. He had just realized that he’d been found out by this super famous important guy. But then, even as he began to formulate his stuttering reply, a miracle happened. Mr. Famous handed Rick his glass and plate and said, “Oh, thank you for taking these.” The moment of being found out averted (albeit in a slightly embarrassing way).
I’ve recently had several instances like that. A one-on-one last week with an international went much deeper than any I’ve had here so far. He’s really looking for ways to grow in Christ. Six or seven internationals are going to our girls and guys retreats in a week. We had at least 13 internationals at our weekly worship service this week. Just when I think I’m going to be found out, I discover that I already am found out. God’s found me out—and in my weakness, He shows His strength.