The Robe Doesn't Make The Man

Title: The Robe Doesn't Make The Man
Category: Devotions
Subject: Lifestyle Witness
The Robe Doesn’t Make The Man!
With Dr. Vincent D. Hefner, Pastor
First Baptist Church
Cherryville, North Carolina

Ever since I have been an adult I have experienced a continual case of mistaken identity. What I mean is that when I am shopping in a department store a person will approach me and ask me if I can help them find a particular item. The general public seems to think that I work at whatever store in which I happen to be shopping. I have never taken offense to this belief, and more often than not, I will help them find whatever they are looking for and encourage them to buy it. I love to spend other people’s money! I don’t think this is against the law, impersonating a salesperson, and I never ring up the sale. I always send my customers to one of my associates to complete the transaction!

One time I was mistaken for someone else and it could have placed me in jail! It happened while I was pastoring in the mountains of Western North Carolina. My church was located in the center of the town of Marshall, and Marshall was the county seat where the court house was located. The day started out like any other, with the exception that I was supposed to perform a wedding ceremony that afternoon at a friend’s home. Since the house was close by, I put on my black robe and walked over to perform the service.

It was a private wedding for an older couple and I was honored to be asked to participate in this very important time in their lives. Before I begin the service, I always make sure that the happy couple has their wedding license to be signed by myself and two witnesses. It is the responsibility of the minister to turn in the signed license to the county clerk of court within a certain period of time, or be faced with a heavy fine. In all my years of performing wedding ceremonies, I have made sure the wedding license arrived within the specified time. Trust me, if you want someone to get mad at you, marry them and forget to send in the license! Most people don’t have a sense of humor about something like that and I can’t blame them!

Anyway, after I completed the service and talked to some of the people at the wedding, I figured it was time to get back to work. As I was walking back to church, I decided to go ahead and walk to the Court House and personally turn in the wedding license to the Clerk of Court. I had completely forgotten that I was wearing a black robe as I approached the Court House. I had also forgotten that it was court day and people were milling around outside until their case was tried. Looking back on it, I can see how the misunderstanding took place. I was wearing a black robe, carrying some papers, and walking in the Court House as though I knew what I was doing. It was at this point a stranger approached me and asked if I could help him out. I thought he knew I was a preacher and wanted some type of help that I could provide. I was wrong. He asked me if I could move his court date from that day to another time. He thought I was a judge! My first impulse was to say, “Yes sir, and as a matter of fact, since you were so polite in asking me, I will just go ahead and dismiss the charges!” Like I said, that was my first impulse, and I rarely go with that one when it is a bad idea. I told the young man I was a preacher and not a judge and I could not help him with his request. Since that time I have never worn a black robe to any court house!

I have discovered that a person must be careful concerning how he characterizes himself to the world. A Christian needs to be aware that what the world sees in our actions should reflect Jesus Christ. Psalm 9:1-2 says, “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O most High.” This is what the world needs to see from Christians. Our lives should reflect His greatness and His love. Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it!