I have been aware for several years that white-faced ibis live in our area, but had not been able to catch a picture of them. Recently a couple of church members told me the fields around them would occasionally be crowded with birds. Since I have been out of bird pictures to use on my blog or in the newsletter, I asked if they could call me next time it happened.
When I got there the fields were full of ibis such as this one. This is a white-faced ibis, but that white face only occurs on mature, breeding males. It is not breeding season and most of the birds were immature. So none of the pictures I got will include that feature. They are uniformly dark birds but when in the light they reflect in colors from copper to chestnut to metallic green. They are classified as wading birds but the downward curved bill is only carried by a few waders. Their plump shape, and relatively short legs also make for an unusual sighting. The bird is something of a conundrum.
Do people ever look at you in a similar way? Are we, as Christians, a conundrum to the world and community around us? If so, it is a situation that should not surprise us. It might even be a situation we strive to embrace.
When we commit ourselves to Christ we are promising to do our best to become like Him. It is God’s work in us that brings about this transformation, but is our part of the bargain to cooperate with the process. So just as the world did not understand Jesus it will also fail to understand those who are simply trying to be Christ-like.
Jesus made it clear that the world would not understand us. In fact, He took it further by saying the world would hate us for our ways. But this awkwardness, this conflict—if it goes that far—is compensated by a simple fact. We were not made for this world, nor is our citizenship here.
2 Corinthians 5:20 (HCSB) Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”
So don’t be surprised by, or worried about, how your faith makes you awkward in the world. Instead be worried if it doesn’t.