Monday, April 28, 2008

A Moment of Startling Clarity

When I was a kid we used to watch a television show called Diff'rent Strokes. It was about 2 poor brothers who, upon the death of their mother, were adopted by her employer, a wealthy widowed gentleman who lived with his daughter and housekeeper in a swanky New York apartment. Every once in a while, when taken by surprise, the younger brother, Arnold, would blast forth the phrase, "What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?!" It always made me laugh. Even now, there are moments, when people around my age toss that phrase out in conversation. (Okay, so we're not cool, but it still makes me chuckle.) The point of this story is simply to illustrate that sometimes we can be speaking or listening to one thing when, in fact, the point is something entirely different. Such was the case for me last Tuesday evening.

I listened as one of my daughters told about a chance she'd had to "witness" earlier in the day. The conversation piqued my interest, but the longer I listened I realized the the bulk of her story wasn't as much about her sharing the gospel with a lost friend as it was about sharing the exciting things that are happening in our church. As her narrative continued, she eventually reached the point where she explained to her classmate about why she trusted Christ and that this friend should consider the doing same. SCORE! That's where the victory is; in sharing Christ. I was proud of my daughter for her willingness to claim her faith and share it with someone whom she knew was lost. I encouraged her to keep sharing with this friend and to pray for her until she trusts Christ.

Nonetheless, I started thinking about how often I take an opportunity God gives me to share the gospel and use it not to declare the good news, but rather to talk about the ministry, the church or even the work God is doing in our community. Why do I do that?! The real message of the gospel isn't that Blue Valley Baptist Church is an exciting place to be, even though it is. It isn't that our worship ministry is growing steadily and taking great shape... The message of the gospel is that God sent Jesus to live, die and rise again in order to reclaim us from our lostness and to allow us to be reconciled to Him.

As one who loves language, I pride myself in choosing carefully the words and phrases I use to convey my thoughts, both verbally and in writing. This week God is reminding me that I need to put as much thought into the message I will share as I do in choosing the words I'll use to convey it.

No comments: