We exchanged a quick “hello” and then he rushed from the room.  Setting up for his presentation which was about to begin, he must of needed some tech. help or to make a last run to the restroom.  As he left, I noticed several things he already had out.  A laptop (bag leaning against the table leg).  A cell phone.  A cup.  All of them orange.

When he returned just a minute or so later, I chuckled to see he was wearing an orange shirt and had traded out the conference provided lanyard fastened to his name tag with one that sported a streak of orange as well.

Orange is my favorite color, a fact I shared with him.

I said, “I sense you like orange.”

He dryly replied,”You sensed that?”

“I did.  Orange is my favorite color, too.”

Looking me over and observing my blue jeans, brown shirt, and black messenger bag, he offered a simple, “I couldn’t tell.”

I laughed and moments later his presentation began. I saw him several more times over the next couple of days and every day he was orange.

I say I like many things.  I claim to support this and that.  I kindly share my passions with anyone who stands still long enough.  But this guy’s flip comment cut to the core of the matter.  It’s one thing to say you like something and it’s another when you don’t have to say anything and people can still tell what’s important to you.

So I really like orange.  My office is covered in it.  I have multiple pieces of clothing in a variety of orange hues.  My office sports orange everywhere.  Orange is my favorite color.  It really is.  But when I was face-to-face with a guy who is clearly in favor of orange, he could see no evidence that what I claimed to love was true.

So, how many times have I preached about loving God?  About following Jesus?  About living a surrendered life?  About joining others in missional living?  About being a servant leader? About…

And how many times have (or could have) people looked at me and said, “I couldn’t tell”?

I’m not going to stop sharing my passions and my pursuits.  I still profess orange is my favorite color.  But after this encounter, I think I need a little more showing in my show-and-tell.  I need to practice what I preach.  I need to remember those words most often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi…

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

What might this look like practically?

  • Practicing patience with my children
  • Extending grace to those who get under my skin
  • Listening more
  • Investing my time in others
  • Seeking ways to encourage others
  • Demonstrating my love for my wife tangibly, daily, without condition

Is it too trite to say, “love God and love neighbors”?

A few questions for you:

  • What do you claim to support?
  • What are your passions?
  • What is your favorite _______?
  • Could a stranger tell what you care most about simply by observing you for a few moments?
  • What suggestions do you have for how I might shrink the gap between my thoughts and actions?
  • What has worked for you?

Life is better together,

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