Courage and Compassion
Although God has His pulpit in heaven, He has His servants on earth.
It’s clear from Scripture that in the mystery and kindness of His purposes, God has determined to use our feeble voices to enable others to hear His voice. By the power of the Holy Spirit, our words about His word further His plans and change people’s lives and futures.
The question, then, is this: Are we stepping forward into this privilege, or are we holding back from it? Following His encounter with the woman at the well, Jesus encouraged His disciples to open their eyes and “see that the fields are white for harvest.” If we, like the disciples, look up to see the harvest before us, then we too must proclaim the word of Christ, declaring with urgency and joy that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Saying this takes courage and confidence. The gospel message runs completely counter to the prevailing worldviews. It is the prime enemy of much contemporary thought. Claims for final truth in Jesus are not simply ignored; they are opposed. Our confidence, however, rests in the fact that the gospel message was given to us by God. We did not invent it and we must not modify it. Instead, “all authority in heaven and on earth” is Christ’s, and He has commanded us to “go … and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-19).
Yet while we need confidence in our message, we also need compassion in our tone. Jesus came as a humble servant. He rode into town on a lowly donkey and spoke with gentleness and humility. When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion, because He saw them as sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). And by the enabling power of His Holy Spirit, we can demonstrate the same care as we recall that we too were once “foolish, disobedient,” and “led astray” before Christ sought us out and transformed us (Titus 3:3).
Difficult days have perhaps created an increased willingness in the hearts of those around you to talk about what weighs them down, what concerns them about the brokenness in our world. Uncertain times must move you and me to be ready to seize the opportunity to proclaim to our family and friends “Jesus Christ and him crucified”
(1 Corinthians 2:2), confident that the Spirit of God can use our efforts for eternal gain. Be bold. Be loving. Be active. Be prayerful. For only in Jesus can darkness be turned to light. Only in Jesus is there a fresh start and a whole new future.
14But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.
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