Sister Maragret, a 70+ year old revolutionary Catholic nun says, “We are trying to shout the gospel with our lives.” This is because she believes that many who are seeking a meaningful spiritual life and thus Jesus have not been able to hear the words of Christians because the lives of Christians have been making so much horrible noise. It can be hard to hear the gentle whisper of the Spirit amidst the noise of Christendom.
Today the best way to let people know about Jesus is to invite them to “come and see.” Philip did this when he first met Jesus – he invited his friend Nathanael (John 1:46). Afterall, you are not just trying to get someone to sign a doctrinal statement, but to come to know love, grace and peace in the incarnation of Jesus, and now in the incarnation of the body, Christ’s church. So, when someone asks me to introduce them to Jesus I would say, “Come and see. Let me show you Jesus with skin on.” and then would invite them into my life so that they would experience Jesus in the way that I live my life.
Of course this can be a little frightening as this means inviting someone into YOUR life and letting them see the way you live and see how what you believe influences and changes the way you live. That can be somewhat unnerving and even revealing. So, most believers or followers of Jesus simply don’t do it. Yet, that is what people want today. They are not looking for a set of beliefs and a doctrinal statement to sign. They are not wanting to add a long list of new things to do to an already busy life. They are looking for ‘life’ – real life. Life with meaning, purpose, direction, depth, authencity, and relevance. They are looking for “life” – the very life and nature of God seen in you and your lifestyle.
This has really always been the way of the Christian faith. John 1:4 states: that “In Jesus was life and that life was the light of men.” The very nature and life of God was in Jesus and that life shone in such a way that others saw it and turned to God. And, today we are called to be the “light of the world” and live in such a way that others will see and want to come to know Jesus. To “see” they will need to be close and intimate with us observing how what we believe influences and impacts how we live.
When I am overseas I spend much time with young people – late night and early mornings, meals and walks … I am certainly busy enough without this aspect of life being added to my daily activities and responsibilities. But I understand the “come and see” principle. It means that often I am tired and lacking personal time and space but it is influencing many and changing what they think and thus how they live. It is the same here when I am not travelling. I meet daily with young men and women talking, sharing, living my life in public. Not always easy or comfortable but always necessary.
How are you sharing the Gospel? With whom are you sharing your life?