“Mama, when we were at the library the other day, I was tempted to tell someone about Jesus and how He was born to save us. Is that wrong?”
I couldn’t help but smile.
Funny question for a missionary kid to be asking…
After all, isn’t that what missionaries do? Isn’t that what we teach kids that missionaries do?
Missionaries go, into ALL the world for this reason: telling ALL who have never heard or who have never believed or who just need to be reminded – ALL about Jesus.
The message is first one of confrontation – the horribly bad news that ALL, are sinners and that as sinners, we are unable – in and of ourselves – to DO ANYTHING to remedy our sin problem. Which brings us to the second part of the bad news: the required punishment for our sin is death.
Grasping that part of the message is necessary; thankfully it doesn’t stop there or we would ALL be without hope.
The second half of the missionary message tells of reconciliation and restoration. It’s the hopeful part… the better part.
ALL men need someone to save them. So God sent ONE, His Son.
It is what we celebrate during this holy season.
Jesus came – born as a baby, but also born to die… for ALL men.
He willingly and sacrificially took the punishment for ALL sin so that ALL men could be reconciled to God. The Good News gets even better. Jesus didn’t stay dead. God brought Him out of the tomb, alive and conquering death. Because He lives, ALL men who believe this merciful message of grace and then trust Him have the hope of ALL eternity together with Him.
So I smiled when my little one asked her question. And I told her, “Of course it’s not wrong!”
She grinned and said that next time, she’d be kind by listening to God when He was tempting her to tell…and we went on with our day… and week…
God, however, wasn’t finished with me yet. He had an additional thought with which I need to wrestle so He kept bringing my mind back around to her question.
Particularly the phrase tempted to tell.
The word tempted usually has a negative connotation. The dictionary definition, “to lure; to entice; to attempt to persuade (someone) to do or acquire something that they find attractive but know to be wrong or not beneficial,” clearly puts a negative spin on the word.
Why would anyone feeling that push or pull to share this message of hope describe it as temptation? In the case of my little one, I’m guessing it was the misapplication of a new word recently added to her vocabulary.
I don’t have that same excuse.
Reflecting during this season of Advent, I’ve been convicted.
Far too often those words “tempted to tell” accurately describe my approach to sharing the Gospel message. Telling is so “in your face.” Telling implies that somehow I know best and that the way I’m describing is right. Telling is less likely to skip the first part, the confrontational part, of the message and I naturally more comfortable with that subtle, less confrontational approach. Thus, oft’quoted words usually attributed to Francis d’Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words,” hold great appeal. “Your talk talks and your walk talks but your walk talks louder than your talk talks” is another catchy phrase I’ve commonly heard.
I’m tempted to tell – but is it ALL if I won’t use words?
No! The idea that we can communicate why Christ came without ever speaking a word is a forcefully magnetic illusion.
Its attractiveness compels in a world that often assumes words are, at best, cheap… At worst, words are perceived as worthless and devoid of meaning. But without words, any actions and ALL good deeds I do… they point at me. My righteous life by itself is woefully insufficient. No matter how good, no matter how tempting the illusion might be, my life alone cannot ever adequately tell of the baby born to die for ALL.
A godly life cannot be the good news.
A godly life, when combined with words, can herald and proclaim the good news, just as angels did in a night sky more than 2000 years ago.In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him;
and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life;
and the life was the light of men.
And the light shineth in darkness;
and the darkness comprehended it not.
…And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us,
and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,
full of grace and truth.
(from John 1) ************************************************** How are you (in your place of ministry or country of residence) “tempted to tell all,” particularly at this time of the year?
Living Nativity Photos: