It Is Polite to Point

Rev. Bradley Swire   -  

Ever been told that pointing at someone is rude? I bet you have. It’s one of those social etiquette rules drilled into us from a young age. But what if I told you there’s a time when pointing isn’t just polite, but actually profound? Let me explain.

Recently, I was reminded of this during a vacation memory. Picture this: my wife and I, honeymooning in the beautiful Puerto Vallarta. As we strolled through the resort, a crowd caught our eye. Naturally, our curiosity was piqued. In the middle of this gathering was a man painting with his fingernails on bricks. Odd, right? But as the image came alive – a stunning scene mirroring the beauty around us – our focus shifted from the painter to his creation. Here’s the twist: he wasn’t seeking attention for his unusual technique; he was showcasing the beauty he created.

This brings us to John the Baptist in today’s scripture, John 1:19-28. John’s life was a masterclass in pointing. His mission? To grab attention and then swiftly redirect it from himself to Jesus. He was the ultimate hype man for Christ, always ready to declare, “Look! There’s Jesus!”

Consider the moment when religious leaders asked him, “Who are you?” John didn’t seize this chance for personal glory. Instead, he humbly responded, “I am not the Christ. I am a voice crying out in the wilderness, make the Lord’s path straight.” He was clear: his role was to prepare the way, to be the signpost, not the destination.

John’s humility shines again when he sees Jesus approaching. “Look!” he exclaims, pointing to Jesus, effectively saying, “This is who I’ve been talking about all along.” His life was a series of moments designed to redirect attention to the One who matters most.

Here’s something to ponder: when you point at someone, one finger directs outward, but three point back at you. It’s a reminder that while we may direct attention to Christ, we also have a role in building God’s Kingdom. Our calling? To capture attention, not for our glory, but to illuminate the path to Jesus.

So, let’s ask ourselves: How do we use the attention we receive? Do we bask in it, or do we use it as a chance to highlight something, or someone, greater? In our everyday interactions, in the ways we live and speak, how do we point to God?

It’s time to break the rules of etiquette and point, not rudely, but with purpose and humility. Let’s make it our mission to redirect the spotlight from ourselves to the divine, making straight the path for Jesus in our hearts and in the world.

Until next time, keep pointing the way!