Missed y’all last week and from all accounts, I missed out on a great time with the youth sharing about their mission trip. Where was I? Glad you asked…I spent last weekend at a mini-family reunion and went to my Dad’s church with the family. The pastor, Travis, shared something that I wanted to pass along.
It all started with a phone call. A simple thing, but the request made wasn’t quite so simple. The person on the other end asked Travis if would officiate a funeral for a family that didn’t have a church home. Imagine how you would have felt sitting with the mother of a fifteen-year-old boy who had passed away in a car wreck. Not a simple thing at all. He, nor the mother, went to church…and as far as the mother knew the boy had never heard of Jesus. What do you say and remain truthful? Tough spot to be in for a pastor, rough spot to be in for a mom.
As he told the story, Travis’ voice broke as he asked a question…one that many of us had probably already thought about, but hearing it made it more real, more painful. How does a fifteen-year-old boy from (city name redacted – population of the city is near 100,000; also near larger metro area) live his life without hearing about Jesus? Silence reigned for a few heartbeats.
The pragmatic side of me was sure the mother was misspeaking – the boy had to have heard about Jesus. Then, as the question echoed, it hit me…yeah he probably heard, but he was probably never told about Jesus. Hearing and being told…two different things. The world will talk about Jesus and it’s not always in a favorable way. It takes a follower of Christ to tell someone about Him.
A couple of weeks ago I preached about being distracted by living…and talked about the difference between looking and seeing/beholding. The same holds true with hearing and telling. Hearing is a passing mention, a mocking, or maybe even something good…but fleeting. Telling, however, requires an investment of time, a loving attitude, a desire to spread the Good News (that thing we’re told to spread), it requires effort…it requires followers of Christ to do what He has commanded.
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, [1 Peter 3:15 ESV]
We’re told to be prepared to give a defense, or in other translations “answer,” for when someone asks you about the hope within you. I have another question…when is the last time someone asked you about your hope? Are you living a life that causes people to wonder what you have? Even if nobody is asking, are you telling others about your hope…your Savior?
How is a fifteen-year-old…a five-year-old…a fifty-year-old…living in Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove…going to be told about Jesus…if no one is telling?
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. [Mark 16:15 ESV]
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Matthew 28:19-20 ESV]
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” [Romans 10:13-15 ESV]