Relax and listen. Consciously prepare to hear God’s Word. Clear your mind of the worries and tasks that lie before you. Open your heart and allow it to refresh.
2 Timothy 1: 8-12a (NRSV)
Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do.
When I was in middle school, I remember someone at church camp asking me whether or not I thought evangelism was a good idea. My first reaction was no—not because I didn’t think it was a good idea to share my beliefs with others, but because there always seemed to be such a stigma associated with sharing your faith. I never wanted to appear pushy, or to make people feel as if I were trying to shove my beliefs down their throat.
When I consider why so many young adults are leaving the church today, I think it’s partially because of the stigma and stereotype of being a Christian. Too many Christians have professed to be the only ones who know what is right. Others have been intolerant, failing to accept people who aren’t Christian. Still other Christians judge people who do things with which they do not agree.
Thankfully, it isn’t our place to judge, because we have all sinned. The good news is that we believe all people have been given grace in Jesus Christ. We don’t have to be afraid to share our Christian story with others, because it should not be a story of intolerance, hatred, or judgement. It is a story of grace and acceptance. “For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher…”
Dear Lord, help us not to be afraid to share our faith story, but also help us to love others and be accepting even of those who don’t think the same way that we do. Help us to love and be respectful of everyone, even if they do not act as we would. Help us to recognize that we may not act as others would and pray that others accept us just the same. Amen.
Go with God.