Two weeks ago, I wrote an article to the larger church entitled, “We Need to Talk.” (https://benbergren.com/article-we-need-to-talk/) Last week, I penned an article on talking less and listening more. (https://benbergren.com/article-listen-more/) I want add one more “thought” to this string of articles. If we are to help others more than judge them and spend more time listening than speaking, we should (as Christians) spend a little time thinking about what we will say when the opportunity presents itself to open our mouths.
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Colossians 4:6
Instead of talking about the weather, making snide remarks or gossiping we are encouraged to speak with grace. If you didn’t know, the Greeks called salt “charitas”—grace—because it gave flavor to things. It seems that we spend a lot of time talking about trivial things and not enough time speaking about the one thing that truly matters: Jesus.
I know, I know, we don’t want to talk about Jesus out in public… but we are called to share Jesus with others. Not because Jesus has an ego problem and wants everyone to be talking about Him. Jesus wants everyone to know His love. Love that is stronger than evil. Love that saved us from eternal separation from God. Love that makes this life worth living.
My life is infinitely better because of Jesus’ love. I can’t even imagine what my life would be like without God. I hope that is true for you. If it is not, let’s spend some time together growing in our awareness of God’s love. It is only when we experience the love of God are we able to share it with others. Besides, how do you share something that you don’t have?
I mentioned this quote the other day… “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words only when necessary.” It is attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi. I think we like it because it lets us off the hook. Kevin Harney puts it this way, “How many times has the gospel not been shared, because we’ve embraced a version of Christianity where words don’t matter?”
Words do matter and our words matter. We have been tasked with sharing Jesus with others and only words will convey the truth of Jesus identity as God in the flesh. Only words can begin to describe the love Jesus has for humanity and His willingness to give His life so that we may be connected to God now and forever.
Don’t hear that I am discounting a life of service and caring for others. Actions are not a substitute for speaking about the love of Jesus.
Even Saint Paul wrote about this in his letter to the church of Rome.
As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in God will never be put to shame. For, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:11&13
Paul is telling us that everyone who is introduced to Jesus will not be shamed by God in spite of their sin and they will be saved for a greater purpose and saved for an eternity with God! But Paul continues…
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? Romans 10:14
The short answer to Paul’s rhetorical questions above is: They can’t.
Faith in Jesus Christ cannot transmitted without words. Kevin Harney (again) puts it this way, “The truth is that no matter how much we try to live in a way that reveals the presence of Jesus, words will still be needed.”
There is power in His name. I don’t mean that figuratively or symbolically. The Name of Jesus has spiritual power. His Name causes demons to shutter! We should not be timid in using this powerful Name in our lives, in our homes and in the world. This Name and this person can change your life because he already changed the world!