Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
This morning I read a blog comment complaining the Pope should worry less about politics and more about preaching the Gospel. After thoughtfully considering all the following comments, I came across one that really resonated with me.
Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.
As someone who has not always had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I got to thinking about my journey to meeting Him, loving Him and surrendering my life to Him.
Here is what I realized: God allows various people & circumstances to call us to His Good News. Not everyone has “ears to hear” from the proverbial cradle. So for the deaf ones, like me – God will use other “language” to get our attention.
There was the elderly couple who, in the middle of the night on Highway 81, came to the aid of a young woman with a dead car and a frightened mind. (I was headed out to party at a college town hours from home.) I have always felt that God sent them there for me…It wasn’t just that they helped in a time of dire need, it was that through their actions and words (God loves you), strangers literally saved me from a possibly ugly fate and, veering from their own travel path, delivered me into safety.
There was a work manager who lived her life in God’s light – never judging but also unswerving in presenting God’s love through her manner, speech and grace (given to others). She didn’t use words. She used actions. I was drawn to her not by what she said, but by how she lived. I learned to trust her. That trust led to her sharing Jesus with me.
But there were others too, like the principal and teachers of my faith-based elementary school, who pounded children with strict rules, regulations and angry teachings of a god who demanded control, and measured it by the ruler – literally. At the tender age of 7 I was corporeally punished (for something I did not do) in front of a class of 3rd graders with dress up and head down. All in the name of their god’s exacting measure of right and wrong…there was no mercy. No grace. Only condemnation.
There was the hypocrisy of church-going adults who left service sincerely smiling and shaking hands with the pastor, who upon leaving got in the car and cursed and screamed at their children for dallying too long.
But God. He allows various people & circumstances to call us to His Good News.
There was also the college friend and “my partner in crime” (who led an amazingly profligate life herself ). She met Jesus one day on her own journey and couldn’t be withheld from sharing Him with me. The change in her life was so astounding, that it got my attention. It was not her words that made me curious – it was the example of a changed heart that led me to find the love, grace and the salvation offered in Jesus Christ.
So back to the bloggers quote above. Is there a time to share the truth of the Gospel – enthusiastically I say YES! However, we are told in scripture to let our light shine – perhaps first – so people will be drawn to the source of that light in us – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
So – should the Pope preach the true Gospel? Yes – of course, but let’s give him a wee bit of grace too afterall, he is just a man – and though he is today’s face of Catholicism and to many – Christianity – let’s trust God in the midst of all the hoopla. The Pope’s visit gives people of faith or no faith the common ground to engage in discussion.
Finding the common ground among people is the beginning of a dialogue that may open doors for the Gospel message to be “heard” by the hearts and minds of all. When ears are open, seeds of the love and saving grace of Jesus can be heard.
It is God, who is Sovereign and He can and will use the good and the bad, the great and the small in His Service….Amen and Amen.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”. Matthew 5:14-16