Editor’s Note: This week we welcome Paul Mannino to the blog, and he will be discussing Acts 28. If you want to watch the sermon, it’s posted on Paul’s YouTube Channel here. My wife, Michelle, and I met Paul and his wife, Mary Kate, at the Evangelical Congregational Church’s Pastoral Assessment Center this past January. There they not only got the green light for pastoral ministry, but we began a friendship. After 20 years in local church ministry, the Manninos are pursuing church-planting. I’m excited for you all to hear how Paul communicates God’s Word. If you want to learn more about the Mannino’s ministry, click here to contact them on Facebook.
The last principle we learn from the Apostle Paul in Acts 28 is that sharing the Good News of Jesus is a priority. If we saw people as God sees people, then we would do for people what God wants to do for people. We would see every relationship as an opportunity to share Jesus. I recently started working for Mattress Firm and their mission statement is to “improve lives one relationship at a time.” I laughed while I was going through my training because I thought to myself, “Man, that’s kind of like the mission of the Church.”
One of the ways that’s fleshed out at Mattress Firm is that, when somebody comes into the store, we practice the “up” system. So if they are two sleep experts working, we take turns at who is “up.” But whoever’s “up” it is, we give everything we can to that guest.
Here’s the thing about that. I don’t know on a particular day how many guests I’m going to be able to serve. There could be only one. It could be a bunch. I don’t know. But, instead of thinking it from my perspective, I choose to think about it from the guest’s perspective. Every single up. Every single chance that we have is a chance to be a light to that person and to help them get the best sleep they’ve ever had in their life. If you’ve ever had a bad night’s sleep, you know how important that is.
So that’s what I do. I give them everything I’ve got. I don’t choose, when somebody walk in the door, to say, “This person looks like a good person to sell a bed to.” No, no. I just go for it and try to figure out, “What does this person need?” and help them to get it. That’s the way it is in sales or service, right?
Why isn’t it that way for followers of Jesus? Why don’t we look at the relationships that we have—the people that we run into, in every single instance—why don’t we seize an opportunity to share Jesus in some way with them? We’re a lot more selective, aren’t we? We pick and choose who seems “right.” We put our own words into what we hope God is doing and say, “Well, I think that God may be moving here, but I don’t feel ‘equipped’ over here.”
What if you treated the people that you interacted with like the “up” system? What if you looked at people and you said, “You know what? I’m going to improve people’s lives one relationship at a time.” I’m going way beyond sleep. I want people to know who Jesus is. And I want people to get a taste of what the rule and reign of Jesus looks like—His kingdom.
We do have to play it by ear to figure out what’s the right approach and the best way to share Jesus with people. I mean it would be weird if somebody came into worship and I said, “Hey Intellibed with an adjustable base. $10,000, ok?” I want to ask someone, when they come into the store, where they are coming from. I want to find out their sleep needs. I want to find out about their lives. I really do want to help them in whatever way they really need help. And, just like with mattresses, sometimes people don’t really know what they need. But, if you ask lots of questions, you can get there. What if we treated every single person with that same level of effort, that same level of dignity, that same level of attention?
My prayer is that God would give us the eyes to see people the way that He sees people. We’re not on our own. I’ll close with Jesus’ words, all the way back from the beginning of the book of Acts. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth.”