Thursday, April 8, 2010

Show & Tell

The scene is a first grade classroom. It’s your turn to get up in front of the entire class and talk about the rock you picked out of the headwaters of the Mississippi River during your family’s summer vacation. Ready? Go!

“Um…this is a rock. I got it this summer…on vacation. It’s from the Mississippi.”

You sit down thinking, “Phew! Sure glad that’s over.” So is the class. Where was the zeal, the zest? Where was the gusto? You sat in the very beginning of the great river that goes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. With one step you spanned the river that continues to host huge coal barges between her great banks. Why didn’t you say something about that? Scared? Afraid someone would laugh? No confidence? Didn’t think about it? I know. Me too.

Show and tell was something my first grade teacher had us do. It wasn’t always fun…but sometimes kids would bring in things that they were really passionate about and we’d all get excited by the story that they told. People love stories. Stories that are told with passion and excitement tend to draw other people into them. Interest is born by the amount of passion with which the story is told.

ROC exists to glorify Jesus through developing dynamic communities that show and tell his gospel at Ohio University. However, if we say something like, “Uhhh….hi….I’m a … I…uhh…I like to go to this….uhhh….Jesus is….well….I guess….” See what I mean?

Some people say that they witness by being nice to other people. That’s great! But really, how will people know you’re a committed Christian who loves Jesus only by your actions? Without some words people might think that you’re simply a Girl Scout or Boy Scout. Showing IS vital! So is telling.

Showing involves being the kind of person that Jesus is. Love, grace, forgiveness, holiness, purity, self-sacrifice, joy, and any other Jesus quality ought to ooze out of our pores and go all over the people around each of us. There ought to be warmth and welcome expressed in Cross Walk and our Bible studies that can only be explained by Jesus’ presence with us. When observed by others wouldn’t it be cool if people said of us what was said of the Apostles, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13)? Ordinary people. That’s what we are. Blessed with more education than Peter and John had but needing the power and courage they possessed in abundance. They had been with Jesus. That’s where the courage comes from. We need to conduct our life as a group together in such a way that it is obvious to each of us that Jesus is here.

But go look up Acts 4 and check out how the rulers, elders, teachers of the law and high priest knew that these guys had been with Jesus. These boys made a little speech. In their response to a question put to them by the rulers, they laid it on the line. There was no stuttering. There was no waffling. They spoke, full of the Holy Spirit, with great passion. The result was that there could be no denying it. Peter and John had been with Jesus.

As an organization and as individuals our purpose for existence is to bring glory to Jesus by showing and telling his story. If we feel unprepared, we need to prepare. If we feel afraid of the response, we need to spend some time with Jesus in prayer and remember that this great work of evangelism is ultimately in His hands. Obedient mouthpieces for the story—that’s what we are. We show and we tell what we know; what we’ve experienced. The Holy Spirit takes it from there. It’s a great adventure. It’s a great calling. It’s our purpose as a group. Let’s do it with great passion and power.

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