An Audience of One
Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?"
Some years back Jack Kemp closed a Memorial Day address with this memorable story. It centered on the outstanding football coach of Columbia University, Lou Little. A man whom General Eisenhower, president of the university, called one of the greatest leaders he ever knew. But before Little was at Columbia, he was coach at Georgetown. In 1928 he had a reserve end named Dennis Flaherty who came into scrimmage every afternoon with an older gentleman. On the day of their game with their big rival, Holy Cross, Flaherty asked Coach Little if he could play. "Son," replied Little, "I know you play your heart out in scrimmage, but you are too small. That is why I always hold you in reserve for the end of the game when it doesn't matter." In response Flaherty said, "Well, Mr. Little, I've prayed. If I don't do everything an end should do, pull me out after the first five minutes." To everyone's surprise, Coach Little let Flaherty start, and he ended up playing all four quarters. He blocked a kick, sacked the quarterback twice, intercepted a pass, and caught another for a touchdown. At the final whistle everyone was left scratching his or her head, and wondering where did that performance come from. None more so than coach Little, who sought an explanation from Flaherty. "Well, Mr. Little," Flaherty answered, "that was my dad I came with every day." "I gathered that," said Little. "Well, Dad was blind," explained Flaherty, "and last night he died from a heart attack. And so you see Coach Little, today was the first time Dad would ever see me play."
Dennis Flaherty played for an audience of one. He played the game of his life, because he vividly imagined playing before the face of his father in heaven. In a similar fashion, the Christian is called upon to live life before an audience of One. We are to live Coram Deo, "before the face of God." In practical terms, it means that whatever we are doing, and wherever we are going, we are conscious of the fact that we are operating under the gaze of God. There is nothing about us that is hidden from His sight (Heb. 4:13). We cannot sit, stand, or sneeze without God knowing it (Psa. 139:1-6). Given that formidable fact it is incumbent upon us during each waking hour, like Hagar, to see the God who sees us (Gen. 16:13). The God we worship, and live before is a God who sees all that we are seeing, and more. Listen! The Lord is near, even at our elbow, and that is a thought that we need to keep ever near to us (Phil. 4:5; cp. Psa. 119:151). It is a thought that should shape our thoughts. It is an all-encompassing reality that should touch and transform every area of our living. It should bring a sweetness, sacredness, and seriousness to all that we do.
If we allow this thought to shape our thoughts several things will happen. One, our faith in God will be integrated into all facets of life (1 Cor. 10:31). Two, we will not fear the face of man; we will live boldly, not anxiously (1 Kings 17:1). Three, we will give up on all attempts at pretension (Matt. 6:5-6; 16-18). Four, we will not seek to cover our sin, but confess it readily (Psalm 51:3-4). And five, we will live with an eye to the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:8-10). Keep it simple; live for an audience of One!
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