Jonathan has always been one with a dry sense of humour, able to say the most outrageous things and keep a straight face. So it should not have taken me by surprise at all, but it did, when at the beginning of the reception meal, in front of the hundred or so guests, he asked me to stand up. I obeyed nervously, wondering why I had been singled out for such a "privilege." Was he going to introduce me as the last remaining bachelor in the Walker family and that interested parties should see me after the meal? If he had said this, then publicly I would have been mortified, but if the truth be known, deep down, I would have relished the attention. Any publicity is good publicity - I think... I hope...
As it was, all he asked me to do was thank God for the food, which I joyfully did, not only cos it's good to thank God for all his tender mercies, but also because that was all I was standing up for.
It's good to be put on the spot. We can all prepare when we know what's coming. However, what you do when caught off guard is the measure of who you really are. Reactions to the unexpected or unwanted things of life are a great thermometer for gauging the relational temperature of our heart towards Jesus.
My brother and I once toyed with the idea of "dropping each other in it for Jesus" on the tube where unexpectedly one of us would stand up and say. Ladies and gentlemen, lend me your ears as Richard here, tells you about Jesus! We never did do that. But I'd hope that were my brother, or anyone else for that matter, to do that to me, I would always have something fresh in my walk with Jesus, worth hearing; not just from the head, but from the heart.
Being ready to give an answer for the hope that you have, is not first and foremost about being stoked up on apologetics as many Christians seem to interpret this verse. Rather, it's about being ready to say how awesome and trustworthy Jesus is, even when you are suffering intensely and unjustly, when life throws things at you that you had neither seen nor prepared for.
It's at times like that, when you really know what the soil of your heart is like.
I want to be caught off guard lots, not because I've been negligent, but because I want to be able to truly and not just theoretically cast myself onto the real care of my heavenly father.
As I turn 32, the temptation to manage my life more and more so that I can predict its outcomes and buffet myself from the unexpected, as well as discomfort, distress and disappointment, gets stronger and stronger. I have to put myself constantly and consciously in a place where I don't just dress my own selfish agenda up in the kind of religious language that makes me look really good and holy, but rather put myself in a place where I can honestly say - God you told me to do this, and if you don't come through for me now, I am totally hosed.