Over the years that I have been coaching bantam football I have developed a kind of an image or reputation for always wearing shorts when I’m coaching. Whether it’s raining or shining or snowing I always wear shorts. Really it’s just a goofy thing I do because it makes people laugh when I’m standing on the sidelines in a November blizzard wearing shorts, but maybe I can fool some people into thinking I must know what I’m doing because I look more athletic wearing shorts and a ball cap than I do in boots, jeans and a cowboy hat.
I had the privilege of helping with the high school team as they prepared for the first round of provincial play-offs. I jumped at the opportunity even though most of the senior players probably know more than I do, but I just love being around the team. I didn’t technically do any coaching, I was in the spotter’s booth hoping to see any tendencies from the other team that our guys could exploit, but since I was officially part of the coaching staff for that day I had to wear my shorts.
Unfortunately it was minus 12 with a stiff north wind and blowing snow. I don’t think I fooled anybody into thinking I looked like I knew what I was doing that day. In fact most people thought I’d lost my mind completely and just looked silly. I had my touque on over my ball cap with my hoodie pulled over that and then my big winter coat over everything else . . . and shorts. Nope, wasn’t fooling anybody with that image.
Most of us are concerned to a certain degree about our reputation, it’s always been part of our human nature. Even in the early church the people from Sardis were concerned about their reputation and apparently went to some effort to project an image of being very spiritual (Revelation 3). I imagine they had all sorts of programs and activities; they never went to bars, never used coarse language, and were always in church on Sunday morning. But Jesus’ scathing indictment was they had a reputation for being alive but were dead.
As Jesus followers we need to be real. We aren’t fooling God, and likely we’re not fooling most people either; we’re fatally flawed. By God’s grace through Jesus we are made righteous, and only in our weakness does God reveal his strength. So just be genuine.