Talking about Jesus with our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers is one of the most awkward experiences. It find it much easier to talk about faith with people I don’t know. I marvel at how bold I could be on mission trips. I felt so empowered. Was it the Holy Spirit? Maybe, sure. But also, there is very little risk in talking to strangers. They don’t know me, I don’t know them, and I will never see them again. So on past trips, I felt emboldened and was willing to talk with them. Or maybe that’s just me.
But at home? With people I see every day? Totally different, way riskier, and often awkward. That gets me thinking about Paul. There he is in the city he grew up in, surrounded by his own people, knowing they are very upset at him. Talk about awkward. Yet Paul dives right in!
Are you and I willing to enter into the unknown and potential awkwardness to tell the story to the people around us because we love God, we love people, and want them to have the life of Jesus that we have? I don’t think we will actually do this until we are living it. Until we know God and are interacting with him and his Spirit on a deeply personal way. Paul knew God that personal way. We are often bold on topics that we believe passionately about. I have heard a lot of bold, excited passion about sports and about TV shows. I have heard a lot of bold, excited passion about politics, about the coronavirus. And that’s all okay.
Remembering, of course, that when we are bold we do not have the freedom to be unkind. We should always be loving and gracious in our boldness.
But are we passionate telling the story of Jesus? Are our lives, our hearts, our actions, our attitudes so passionate about him that we can’t help it? We are often passionate about the things he is passionate about, but are we as passionate about Him?
This isn’t about church growth, or getting higher attendance at worship services. Not at all. This is about people. It is about actual human lives. So let us enter the potential awkwardness, out of love, and allow the story of Jesus flow from us.
But that assumes we are excited and passionate about Jesus. I get excited about a TV show because I actually spend time sitting down and watching it. Michelle and I have started rewatching The West Wing. Believe it or not, it came out in 1999. I remember watching it then on-air, and since then we’ve rewatched it through once or twice, and now we’re watching it again. We’re amazed anew by how witty, how relevant, and how good it is. Great writing, great acting, and all very inspiring. Guess what? Of course we’re going to be excited about it and feel passionate about talking about it, because we’re spending time with it almost every day. A TV show.
How are your interactions with Jesus? Not just what are you reading, but how are you interacting with Him? It is a real relationship. What is the story you have to tell? Who is Jesus to you? How has he been, and still is, at work in your life?
Tell that story, the story about how he wants to bring new life to everyone!