Saturday, December 06, 2008
One word for the gospel
My friend was sitting watching his kids swim the other day and he noticed a woman next to him reading a new age book (you know the sort of thing they have by the bookshelf full in Waterstones). He had done nothing much more than ponder its title when out of the blue she turned to him and volunteered her thoughts and questions about the purpose of life and the universe.
She then asked him squarely-
"What do you think it's about?"
Now, as an evangelist (by the way if you are a Christian you are one too), this is what I would consider to be an open goal. My friend ( a Pastor) knew this also to be true but by his own admission he stumbled. Sometimes when sharing the gospel with an open football goal all we need to do is kick the ball vaguely in the right direction and it should go in. But we often don't do that do we? We so regularly tell people the mechanics of playing the game of football (how you choose a team, how many players, what the kit is, how the rules work) rather than just sharing the joy of kicking a ball around with others.
After all that's what the woman wanted to know. Yes she needed truth but the sort of truth that would lead her into the way and the life. In contrast, following his best effort all my friend felt he had left the lady with was a bit more knowledge. So, rather annoyed, he decided to send three friends, me being one of them, a text which simply read:
"Sum up the gospel in one word".
Now there is a challenge. D. L Moody was asked the same thing and the reply he gave was 'Others'. I've always like that.
Mine, for what it's worth, was 'Grace'. Paul wrote 13 letters and if you read them he starts each one with grace and he ends each one with grace. The gospel begins and ends with grace.
What were the other responses? Well, one was 'Hope' and the other was 'Significance'. The next day he bumped into someone else and they said 'Purpose'.
So what would your one word be?
By the way whether or not we are a follower of Jesus we all have a word. We all have a salvation project. We all have our life and identity hanging on something.
We all have to put a word to the something.
The question is "What is it?"