Sometimes, when I walk past that man standing on the corner with his bible in hand (the one screaming and shouting about salvation) God speaks to me, and says: “One day, that’s going to be you.”
I laugh. I tell him I have my own ways of doing things. (Ways that don’t involve me looking like a lunatic, embarrassed, being either ignored or laughed at.)
God says to me again. “One day, that’s going to be you.”
I argue, and tell him that I prefer to speak to people who I know about him. People I already have a relationship with, not complete strangers.
Truth is: I’m lying. I’m not afraid of looking like a loon. I’m afraid of sharing the gospel.
I’m afraid someone will ask a question I won’t be able to answer. I’m afraid I’ll look stupid. I’m afraid they’ll reject me. I’m afraid and I’m ashamed.
But what if they need me, and I don’t tell them? What if they go home tonight and sleep forever? What if they have to live the rest of their life without knowing they are truly loved: Without experiencing real peace and understanding hope?
Would my embarrassment be worth them having to live a life without Christ? Would it be worth them having to die a death without him?
If we can’t imagine a life without him; why should we expect anyone else to live without him?
I think a lot of us have forgotten just what we have been saved and set free from. If we truly knew we wouldn’t be able to help but be the crazy kind of Christian. The kind that just can’t shut up talking about Jesus.
The kind that knows that action do speak louder than words; but doesn’t use that as an excuse for not speaking out.
The kind that isn’t afraid to look daft sometimes, and who knows that when they take a chance on sharing their faith, that God always comes through for them, and gives them the right words to say.
The kind of Christian who knows that sharing the greatest message is the most exciting thing that they can ever do.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)
Why is it that Christians are so quick to judge the successful? What, exactly, is it that they’re afraid of?
I first noticed this as a teenager. Why was it that the smaller churches were often openly critical about larger ones? They would accuse them of attracting large numbers because they were only saying what people wanted to hear, that they weren’t preaching the gospel, and at times, that the leadership weren’t even Christians.
And yet, when you questioned anyone about this, they would never have any evidence to back up their claims. Instead of being thankful that churches were growing; instead of being encouraged; instead of assuming this was happening because people were actually going out and telling other people about Jesus, they just had to believe it was something far more sinister. Because, after all, if they weren’t experiencing success, what right did anyone else have to it!
Unfortunately this idea isn’t just limited to church growth. When people are doing well, others are quick to criticise.
And I’ll admit it: I’ve joined in with this thinking as well. After all isn’t the Christian life supposed to be the hard option? The heavy cross and the narrow road?
How can these concepts that are drummed into our heads right from our Sunday School days ever fit with the idea of being successful? How can we remain humble and yet experience success?
For so many years I had failed to grasp that God actually wants us to do well. He commands us to try our hardest, and he even rejoices with us in our successes.
I was like that man in the parable of the talents. The one who, when his master left him with money, buried it. Too afraid to use it. Too afraid to invest, and when his master returned, had to explain why he hadn’t done the best with what he had been given.
And still I tell myself that not trying is the best option, that hiding is the best option. That it’s the most humble option. But It’s not. It’s false humility. And false humility is really just fear in disguise.
God gave us our gifts and talents so that we could use them, not bury them. And if has given us what it takes to become successful, he will give us everything we need to handle that success. And if we don’t succeed, he will give us everything we need to handle that as well.
Are you afraid of success? Why?
Is there something that you are too afraid to try your hardest at?
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1 Corninthians 9: 24-25)