Joe came into my church office in south Louisiana many years ago just to say hello. Before he left, he handed me the plastic, souvenir key chain that was about the size of a coffee can lid. It looked like the type of large key ring that you would get when you wanted to use the restroom at a public service station and they wanted to make sure to get it back. On the front it has a picture of a crab and the saying, “I’m a crab for Jesus.”
Now, south Louisiana is famous for its seafood, so seeing the crab on the key chain was not a big surprise. However, I thought it was an unusual gift to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, I was appreciative of the gift, but I really wondered what in the world was I going to do with it. I mean an “I’m a crab for Jesus” key chain it doesn’t sound like a top 10 seller in the Christian book store.
Anyway, I flipped it over and on the back the word CRAB was written vertically and forming the acrostic: Caring, Ready, Available and Bold. “Wow,” I said. “That’s neat! It looks familiar.” “It should be” Joe said, “you taught this in Bible study about a year ago and it stuck with me.” Apparently, it hadn’t “stuck with me” and I was embarrassed that I didn’t remember the lesson. But, I do now. I have treasured that key chain, and its message, ever since.
As Christ-followers, we must make sure that we care about people. Jesus cared about people and left us an example to follow. True, some people are mean, rude, don’t want our help, or are out to take advantage of us. Nevertheless, we are called to care.
After all, it is not really between us and them. It’s between us and God. Someone has wisely said, “People won’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.” I need this reminder on a daily basis.
With two basic tools I can fix about anything. I really only need a hammer and some duct tape. If it cannot be fixed with a hammer or duct tape—chances are, it’s not really broken! Actually, that’s not true. Everyone knows that you have to have the right tools to do the job right.
The same is true spiritually. The Bible says, “…sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (I peter 3:15).
An athlete must train for a competition. A student must study for a test. And, a hard drive must be loaded with programs in order for those programs to be accessed. I can apply that to my spiritual life. If I have not read my Bible, prayed, or spent time with other Christians, chances are, I will not be ready when opportunity comes my way.
Maybe you feel that you just don’t have the right gifts to use for God. The truth is that God doesn’t need talented people or people with great skills. The story of Moses, who doubted his own ability, is a good reminder of that truth.
What God needs is not people who have great ability, but rather, people who are greatly available. The question is not, “what can I offer God.” Instead, it’s “am I willing to offer God what I have?” The Bible says, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:5-6). Every single day is an “opportunity” and to fully take advantage of each day we must truly be available.
Finally, we must be bold. We should never be rude or pushy—but there are times when we must be bold. I am, by nature, an introvert and very shy. For me, being bold takes thought and work. That means, when I tell the person in the check out that “I will be praying for them” those words don’t come out of my mouth naturally. I may feel them in my heart—but I have to make a conscious effort to share that message aloud.
Years ago, McDonald’s began asking their customers, “Would you like fries with that?” Their sales skyrocketed. They were not pushy or rude, but they used the power of suggestion to their advantage. They simply rolled out the red carpet of opportunity for us to go to cholesterol heaven. The same is true in my life. There are many people around me who want—and need to hear what I have to say. I must be bold in sharing the good news.
I still have the CRAB keychain and I treasure it as a wonderful and thoughtful gift. And, I have never forgotten what it means to be a crab for Jesus.