FIRST-PERSON: Green means go

by Neal Ledbetter, posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009 (10 years ago)

MOBILE, Ala. (BP)--Have you ever been in your car behind someone at a stoplight when the light turns green and the person just sits there? The driver has a green light to go, but he goes nowhere.

Somehow I always tend to find these people when I come to a light. In my observation, it usually happens because of one or all of the following reasons:

-- The driver misunderstood the signal. As impossible as it seems to misunderstand a simple green signal, it happens. He sees a green signal, but something in his brain doesn't connect and the driver just sits there.

-- The driver became distracted. She wasn't paying attention. She was talking to passengers, talking on the phone, texting a friend, shuffling songs on her iPod, looking at a map, applying make-up. She was focused on less important things and didn't know the signal changed.

-- The driver became frozen. He froze in fear. Maybe someone just ran the light in the opposite direction or he didn't know which way to go. He sits at a green light because of fear and over-cautiousness.

-- The driver forgot. She forgot what she was doing, where she was going. She just zoned out. It happens to the best of us. I've driven from my office to my home without any real recollection of how I got there. I was just going through the daily routine, not really paying attention.

Ironically, these reasons for sitting at a green light are very similar to what you and I experience when it comes to responding to the command to share our faith and join the mission of God.

-- Many of us have misunderstood the signal. We have a false view of missions, thinking it is limited to a location or limited to a specific time in our lives after we have accomplished our own goals. Or it is limited to a 10-day mission trip, or it is just for the "professionals" such as pastors or career missionaries.

-- Some of us have become distracted. We stop paying attention to the mission of God and our part in it because of a number of concerns that are ultimately trivial when compared to the compelling command of the Great Commission.

-- Some of us are frozen. Many of us are afraid to tell of our faith because of fear, uncertainty, or the belief that we have failed too much in our own lives to be used by God.

-- Some of us have forgotten. Many of us have forgotten our purpose, forgotten what it was like to be transformed, forgotten what it was like to have our sins forgiven, forgotten there are still millions who don't know.

God has given each of us a green light to go, to tell, to live our faith. Whatever the reason, many of us are still sitting at the light, and there's a danger many of us will still be sitting there years from now.

I spoke recently with a University of Mobile student who had just returned from an African nation where she witnessed nearly 20,000 people confess Christ as Savior and King. God is at work. He's not asleep at the wheel. The Kingdom of God is here and now and on the move. The beauty is that He has invited us to join Him in His mission to rescue the hearts of people everywhere.

The Great Commission is our green light. Will you join Him or sit at the crossroad staring at the light? Green means go.


Neal Ledbetter is director of spiritual life and campus ministries at the University of Mobile. Audio of the "Green Means Go" series is available online at www.facebook.com/umcampuslife.

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