Friday, March 21, 2008

1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)

1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)-“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…”

First of all, I’m sorry I didn’t write anything last week. My wife and I have both been sick, and it’s been miserable. I didn’t feel like doing anything last weekend. I only say this because I get questions about it, some erroneously thinking that their e-mail ate my verse or something like that. I appreciate the fact that you care.

So, we’re here to another Easter weekend. I don’t mean to make light of the sanctity and holiness of this particular weekend, but for a Christian, EVERY day should be Easter. Every day should be a celebration of our Savior and what He did for us on Calvary.

I’ve been thinking about this all week while I was at work (both days-heehee!) I got an urge yesterday to just start questioning the guy I was partnered with about what he was doing this weekend. I was going to see if he was going to be in town and tell him that he needed to come to the church for the Easter play and everything.

I really felt the need to get at him. The voice was adamant that I take him to task, and not give him any relief until I had made my point. Then I heard another, less shrill voice. It talked to me about the fact that, yes, my partner did need to go to church. But, I needed to be careful because I had already been in trouble on the job for proselytizing (talking about my faith) before.

See, there doesn’t seem to be room in the workplace anymore to talk with people openly about Jesus. If they ask, I consider it fair game, but you can’t just bring it up because you are being perceived as forcing your views on your co-workers. So, as I said, I already have a letter in my file for answering questions I was asked, which I am going to do.

Anyway, as I sat there with my co-worker, I wrestled with what I was going to do. I was embarrassed about even having had this discussion inside myself. What would be the worst he could do? Get me written up again quite possibly, with some additional unpaid time off.

So, I didn’t say anything to him about the Easter play.

Then, I remembered that I had already taken in some of the tickets into work with the show-times for the play on them. One of my other co-workers had already asked about it, and wanted to see about getting his family back into church. He thought this would be a good time, and he knew about my faith, so he talked to me.

I also remembered that they all considered me a Bible thumper. I didn’t have to advertise my faith, they all knew about it from the way I talked when they asked me questions. I didn’t preach to anyone, they knew what they wanted to of the gospel story. I just tried to live my life and they drew conclusions based on that.

Okay, I know, I know. You’re wondering where all this is going. As I said, I’ve been sick, so I’m not sure my thought processes are back up to snuff yet.

What it means to me is that we, as Christians, need to just be there for people. In this day and age, it’s hard for me to fathom someone in the United States of America not knowing something about the gospel story. I know that might seem like a cop-out, but hold on. I think we need to concentrate more on having our defense ready for the hope that is in us, than our club ready to beat the living heck out of people who don’t know Jesus.

Our pastor has been doing a series in church called “Just walk across the room.” It means, ultimately, to just try and be a friend to unsaved people; to be someone that reaches out to them. Get to know someone and show them you care; be a friend to someone who needs one. Then, let the Spirit guide you. If you are to broach the subject of salvation to them, you will know.

How many times has something happened in your life that you were really glad you had Jesus on your side? Now, imagine that person you took the time talking to, even once, seeing that time in your life and seeing the hope that you have.

Then, imagine the bottom falling out of their life. My God being who He is, I don’t think He’s gonna waste a hurt. It may be you that they come to, asking a simple question that blossoms into the gospel story. It may be the next person they meet.

I think we get too enamored with being the person who has to plant the seed in everyone. The Bible says that some plant, some water, some tend, but Jesus gets the crop. We are too worried about notching our belts with salvations to care about PEOPLE.

I want to care about the people I meet; everyone I meet, including the guy who is obnoxious to me and pretends to be a know-it-all. I want to be care about the guy who doesn’t seem to be able to put a coherent sentence together without cementing it with profanity at the beginning, middle, and end.

I want to care about the people I meet who have wronged me for no reason, other than we just don’t seem to get along, even though they have no idea why we don’t just get along. I’m not talking about tossing aside my beliefs; I’m talking about living them in life so visibly that no one has a question that I am a child of God.

So when they come to me, at that crucial moment in their life when they are really open to God, that I will be ready to talk to them and give them a reason for my hope. I’ve got my testimony down and my reasoning ready. I can proudly tell them how my new relationship with Jesus has given me faith and courage and strength in this world of uncertainty, pain, and death.

We’re all Jesus farmers. Some of us till the soil, helping to break up the huge clods of dirt. Some of us dig the small hole for the seed; some of us plant the seed. Some of us water and tend the crop as it grows. Sometimes we are different things at different times. We need to be ready at whatever stage of planting we find ourselves in with a particular situation.

We can’t make the crop grow, however. We can only help it along. Be there for someone next week. Remember in your life, God met you just where you were at and brought you home. He may have used someone else physically, or you may have just been prayed for by someone else you will never meet.

Don’t stutter; have your reason ready in your heart and secure in your mind. So when the question comes up about the faith of your life, you can be passionate about it. It’s not about you changing everyone you meet; it’s about everyone you meet seeing the change that has been made in you and wanting it for themselves.

Don’t put so much pressure on your shoulders. God doesn’t; He trusts you to speak for Him in due time and due season. Be ready.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

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