On Sharing Jesus

On Sharing Jesus

This Sunday we will complete our look at our new mission statement. By now it is our hope that this is sinking deep into your thinking pattern, and you are beginning to understand the inner logic of why we have presented it as we have. While it is true that there is not a linear process laid out in this new mission, we do feel as if each builds upon the other. Loving God leads us to experience transformation, and out of that transformation of our character we then share Jesus with others through service and evangelism.

With that in mind, I now want to reflect a few minutes on why we have chosen “Sharing Jesus” as the last element of our mission statement. It is not because we think it is the least important. Indeed, sharing Jesus is vital to any understanding of the Christian life. However, we do believe that all too often we try to serve without the necessary transformation having taken place. This is not to say that we believe someone has to have a fully formed and mature character to share Jesus with others. Indeed, new converts often have the least maturity and yet the most enthusiasm to share. So we are not trying to dampen that in any way. But we do want to say that too often we try to serve from a place of lack, and the inevitable result is burnout. We might equate it to the seed the falls on thorny soil, which at first grows with great excitement, but then is quickly choked out by the complexities of life.

Consider the following quote from the 12th Century monk named Bernard of Clairvaux. The [one] who is wise, therefore, will see [their] life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then [offers] the overflow without loss to itself….Today there are many in the church who act like canals; the reservoirs are far to rare….They want to pour forth before they have been filled; they are more ready to speak than to listen, impatient to teach what they have not grasped, and full of presumption to govern others while they know not how to govern themselves.

This is a great problem. How many have gone out to serve in the name of Jesus, or try to evangelize in the name of Jesus, and because they were not full of God themselves, ended up doing more damage than good?

Now, we do want to be careful with this notion. We don’t want to come away with the idea that there is some standard of Christian maturity that one must meet in order to serve in his name. Jesus calls the “least of these” into his service, who are often not wise according to the world’s standard of judgment. Having said that, it is also true that you cannot give what you do not have. While God is gracious in that even people who preach Christ from false motives can be used by him, it is much better when those who carry the message of Jesus and serve in his name actually have the fruit of God’s life deep within them. Jesus promises that rivers of water will flow out of people like this. The purity of that water will bring life to places that have long been dead. But for that water to flow out of us, we must first pursue God in such a way that his grace is allowed to transform us in our deepest parts. This takes time; often lots of time. But as we go, we will find that service in his name becomes much easier, because now we are not canals simply pouring out what little water we have collected, but instead will be reservoirs pouring over into the lives of others.

Curtis Baker

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