Living His Story Ch 6
Finding echoes of the story of Jesus in our world today
Over the years I have been the recipient of some truly amazing gifts from my husband. I can confirm that he really does listen. I have been given thoughtfully chosen and designed pieces of jewellery, that I will cherish forever. Once I got a CD by a German band he knew I liked, that was almost impossible to get hold of. Often he has been a master of the joyfully unexpected gift, going to any lengths, but once or twice I have received an absolute clanger. A few years ago, after I had apparently declared several times that I needed them, he gave me some bathroom scales for my birthday. A few years prior to that I got a set of alloy wheels for a valentines gift, because I had commented on how much I liked the way they made the wheels look like they were going in the opposite direction to the car!
In Alcoholic Anonymous, recovering addicts often talk about the gift of recovery, and how in order to keep it, they must give it away. Alcoholics are under no illusion, they know that if they don’t give away what they have, a process that reminds them of what the have received, they may well relapse and die.
The greatest gift I have ever been given is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 5:19, Luke 8:39 and Acts 1:8, Jesus tells us that it is also our job to give it away. It was never intended that we would keep the good news to to ourselves, but that it would always be a gift that each one of us would continuously be giving away. As followers of Jesus, we have the responsibility to tell others what we have experienced in our journey with Him. It is a matter of life and death, so why do we struggle so much to do it?
The alcoholic has a unique way of speaking to another alcoholic because they have experienced the very same thing. A recovering alcoholic knows the deep longing the active alcoholic has to get and remain sober. But for some reason we fail to see that we too have this unique understanding of each other; the longing of every human being made in the image of God is the same, it’s just sometimes it can be hard to locate what the person in front of us has placed their hope in.
We are called to deliver the gift of the gospel in ways that the people around us can relate to. Like Paul in Athens we can gently reveal the truth by finding the fault line in a person or culture’s worldview. We do this by understanding what they are searching for, and we find clues for this in what they listen to, what they watch, what they read, and what they value. This way, as Paul did, we can place Jesus at the centre of their search for spiritual fulfilment. Jesus as the one and only fix for the fault line.
As we get better at studying the culture, and tuning ourselves to what the person in front of us is searching for, we will find common ground, because we all suffer from the same condition, separation from God, and like the alcoholic, each time that we give the gospel away, it will deepen and reaffirm in us the incredible gift we have received.
But as always, even if we are attentive and even if we listen, we will make mistakes and we will be misunderstood, my scales and alloy wheels are testament to that, but we should never be put off, because each time we step forward we can be reassured, by the words of Jesus, who said that He will surely be with us in this, to the very end of the age.
Click here to join our zoom meeting today at 1pm, where we will be discussing the questions below.
Do you regularly check out some of the things causing a stir in popular culture and, if not, how might you (enjoyably!) keep yourself well informed?
In what book, film, drama, musical, TV programme or radio broadcast do you find a winning presentation of the gospel?