I once heard this quote, “How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
These powerful words have often caused me to reflect on what I might be withholding from someone by not sharing the free gift of salvation for all who believe.
The conversation with Renewal Lab deacons often begins by identifying the tangible ways deacons see God working through their church to care for the poor and needy. It is very clear that church members take seriously the call to care for physical needs of people by generously donating money, clothes, food, back packs etc. However, do we take equally as serious the call to care for soul needs? In light of the struggles and tragedies of this world, the gospel is the only hope we have, but do we share it? Do we feel equipped? Is this a priority in our conversations? Do we know the word so we can share the word? Can we speak, model and share the gospel if we don’t recognize how much grace, mercy and love God lavishes on us daily?
A great rewrite of Psalm 23 became precious and real to me. Maybe it will to you as well.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, so I must sit at His feet each morning. I would pray that He would lead me beside still waters and refresh me in green pastures. He would restore my soul only when my soul was quiet in His presence. The inevitable valleys of life would pose no real harm because I would be more diligent to pursue His presence every day. The rod of Scripture, as illuminated by the staff of the Holy Spirit, would comfort me when I spent time reflecting upon what God was saying to me through His word. My head would be freshly anointed with the oil of His grace day by day. My cup would be filled up and spilling over with His mercy and goodness and righteousness. Then—and only then—would I be able to serve others from the overflow of what the Lord would first be doing in my heart and life.” (Taken from Running on Empty: The Importance of Personal Devotions by Joel Rishel)
Deacons have many great opportunities to listen, discern, love and serve people. Although meeting physical needs is important, meeting the needs of a starving soul is even more important. Oftentimes what we are passionate about spills over in our conversations. Are we so passionate about our faith that we simply can’t help but allow it to overflow and share it? The story of the woman at the well makes gospel sharing seem so easy. Simply put, Jesus talks with this outcast of society, treats her with dignity and respect, calls her out on her lifestyle, and offers her the living water. Then she runs to the town telling everyone that she met the Messiah. Jesus is invited to stay a few extra days and through his teaching many came to know him.
Where are you at spiritually? How committed are you to daily spiritual practices and prayer? Do your practices need renewing and are you willing to be renewed for the sake of the gospel?