This is something I struggle with.
Since I have been a Christian my whole life, it’s been my life’s commission to “spread the Gospel”. I want to apologize upfront for my brutal honesty and explicit thoughts on sharing the Gospel. I always like to remind my readers that I am not a pastor, counselor, doctor, or teacher. I am an inquisitive soul and I process things by talking about them and more specifically writing my thoughts down. So here I go…
I’m finna take it back to my restaurant days because I learned so much while I was in the service industry. Every night as a waitress, we would have contests on selling certain items on the menu. This idea of in-house contests to incentivize sales is not limited to just a restaurant. Employees in a department store may have a contest to sell the most Michael Kors shoes, and if the employee wins the sales that day they could maybe pick their schedule for the next month (not to brag, I would prolly win the MK contest). I digress.
At my job I was never able to really win those contests because I didn’t really enjoy what I was selling. If I was told to sell the big ticket Porterhouse T-Bone, I almost never could do it because I had never had one before. I was unable to relate to my guests how good the steak was because I was just trying to sell it based off of other people’s opinions or because it was my duty. Thus in return, I seemed disingenuous in my motives because I was just trying to make my boss happy not the patron. When it came to selling a Dallas Filet, well I had that in the bag… Why? Because that is my absolute favorite steak. I was able to tell my guests how much I enjoyed this steak because I had ordered it, enjoyed it, and experienced it myself. It wasn’t a job or chore for me to sell what I liked. It was easy because I would build relationships with my tables, ask them what they liked, and recommended my favorite item on the menu. My mind switched gears from trying to win a “back of the house” bingo game for selling the most steaks, to offering my guests something that would change their order for good. My recommendation was based off my experience and my interest in changing my customer’s experience.
Another thing, you don’t have to work at your favorite restaurant for you to tell people how good the establishment is. Your enjoyment of their food, service, and experience will naturally incline you to tell people about it. In return, your friends and family will go give it a try and see for themselves. That’s the same with anything in life. If you enjoy the gym, people will see the evidence in your physique, your conversations, and your overall health. If you like a Netflix series, you will most likely suggest it to someone. Enjoyment breeds conversations, and conversations lead to conversions.
I don’t want to sound cheap with using the word “sell” when it comes to the Gospel. But for the longest time I have been trying to sell the Gospel to people because it was my duty as a Christian. If I fulfilled this duty, I would reap the reward for answering God’s call on my life. My thoughts have been going cray on this subject because I am guilty of not really enjoying the Gospel and the freedom it brings. When you work in ministry, you can’t help but feel like you are a “Professional Christian” and you “have a job to do”. Please don’t mistake me, I DO think sharing the Gospel is the biggest, greatest, and ONLY call on a believer’s life. However, my perspective on this matter is growing. As believers who are called to serve others and share the good news, we need to make sure we are taking extreme measures to enjoy the Gospel in our own lives. Nothing is more tiring than trying to convince someone of something that you yourself aren’t even convinced of. Kind of like in a relationship, if you have to convince someone of your worth, well you prolly don’t value yourself. Or if you have to convince others that who you’re dating is a good boyfriend/girlfriend, then odds are their character can’t speak for itself. There is beauty in pure enjoyment. It draws people in.
The Gospel can stand on its own and change anyone, so let it transform you first. I am talking to you… yeah you, the one who has been a Christian their whole life. The one who drifted from Jesus and is back but still confused. The one who hears the Word every day. The one who teaches the Word every day.
Let’s take a look at Mark 1:29-34…
Jesus Heals Many
“29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to serve them.
32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.”
There is so much to unpack in this passage, but I will just highlight a few things.
My ears perk up when I see Jesus in action because that is what the Gospel, my life, and everyone’s life should be centered on. Call me if you wanna chat more about this because I could for hours!!
1. We notice that Jesus was on His way back from the synagogue where He was teaching. Since Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, one could argue He was on His way home from “work” with His friends. If you work in ministry you know that a lot of lives change inside your ministry, but could prolly agree that a lot more lives change outside the 4 walls you congregate in.
2. He enters the house of one of His closest disciples along with the rest of His inner circle. They tell Jesus of Simon Peter’s sick mother-in-law and He goes to her, grabs her hand, and heals her. As a response to her healing, the woman begins to serve them. Wow. That stops me in my tracks immediately. Why? Because she was sick when Jesus came, was healed by His touch, then began to serve. Her service was a response to being transformed and healed. I get this backwards in my life. I tend to serve, focus on deeds, and minister without actually being healed myself.
3. I think it’s also safe to say that this woman had already known of Jesus. After all, He was best friends with her son in law. But knowing about Jesus and His works wasn’t enough to heal her… she had to experience His healing and His touch. Then she was able to be transformed. My fellow friends, it isn’t enough to just know Jesus and His Gospel, you must experience it. Let it in. Let it heal. Let it creep into the ugly. Let it seep into the porn addiction, the suicidal thoughts, the shame of your past, the self-doubt, the obsessive behavior, the broken marriage, and the fear of being alone.
4. Later that evening people caught word of Jesus healing in Capernaum and the whole town gathered at the door. I can’t help but cry when I envision this scene. I am picturing a small hut with a fragile door frame and people just craving to be near Jesus. All because they heard He was a healer. Not because Simon’s mother-in-law gave a great devo and recollection of her son-in-law’s time with Jesus. It was His healing, the Good News of His existence, and His power that brought people to the door.
5. Lastly, He healed those who came in and sought Him out. He drove out demons. He silenced the demons. What power. I just need to sit in that for a moment. He silenced them because “they knew His name”… I need to hear that. That the demons in my life, the demons in your life, the darkness in your life, the addictions in your life, the fears in your life, the anxiety in your life, the depression in your life, and the loneliness in your life are silenced.
If we all accepted His healing in our lives, daily, and let His name silence the demons in our life then I think people will see the Gospel at work in your life and naturally crave the same healing. When I think of Jesus dying on the cross and raising Himself back up again, I don’t want to think to myself: “well now it’s my turn to make Christ’s work worth it”. I want to think of it as healing for myself, accepting the truth of the Gospel myself, and enjoying this Good News, and as a result people line up at the door for His healing. I am imploring myself, to daily accept His grace*, His mercy* and Good News in my own life, and in return serve others. Not vice versa.
*Grace: getting something we don’t deserve which is Salvation and Eternal Life. By His grace we are merited with eternal life even though we did nothing to earn it.
*Mercy: not getting something we do deserve which is Hell and Separation from God. By His mercy we are spared punishment.
Song of the day: “Whole Heart (Hold Me Now)” by Hillsong United
“Healed and forgiven Look where my chains are now Death has no hold on me ‘Cause Your grace holds that ground And your grace holds me now”