by Sharon Betters
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Can you hear the pathos in Paul’s plea for Christians to take up the privilege of sharing the Gospel message of Jesus? I imagine tears streaming down his cheeks as he asks, “How will they hear about Jesus unless someone tells them?” If we pull out just this passage, we could conclude that only the spoken word communicates the Gospel. But Paul repeatedly exhorts Christians to live out the redemptive love of Jesus in response to the priceless gift of salvation. The method he describes is the same one Jesus calls on us to practice in our daily lives. This could be a companion passage to Today’s Treasure in Wednesday’s devotional:
Soon afterward He went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.
Luke 8:1-3 ESV
Jesus needed these women to “give out of their means” so that He and His disciples could do the work God had given to them. The gifts of the women helped “send” Jesus and His disciples to those who needed to hear the message of Jesus. They had to eat in order to preach. The women met that need.
When called on to go into the darkness with a broken friend, your first response might be, “Who, me? No, not me, I have nothing to offer. I don’t know what to say or do. I’ll make things worse.” Bring those fears to the Lord and then ask Him to show you what you do have to offer. About a week after Mark’s death, a neighbor I barely knew knocked on the door of our grieving home. No doubt she came with fear and trembling, but she brought a loaf of homemade zucchini bread. I had lost almost ten pounds in a little over a week. Food stuck in my throat. Her bread was the first food I enjoyed. To this day, toasted zucchini bread is a favorite comfort food for me and every time I eat it, I think of this neighbor’s kindness. The Lord transformed what appeared to be a mundane act into a majestic moment that reminded me of His presence through the actions of my neighbor. Perhaps without knowing it, she was a life-giver.
“How can they hear unless someone is preaching to them?“ In that moment, I felt the love of Jesus come through the gift of zucchini bread.
LIFE GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT
The Lord gives us the privilege of biblical encouragement and when He does, He transforms simple acts of ordinary obedience into extraordinary life-giving moments. Is your neighbor struggling with illness, aging? Take their trash cans to the curb, leave a goodie basket on their porch with a card and handwritten Scripture. Encourage your child’s teacher with a quart of homemade soup and bread (or Panera’s soup and bread)!
Ask the Lord to fill your mind with a specific task that will offer help and hope to a needy friend or neighbor. You don’t have to be eloquent to preach. When Christ is in us, we have the treasures of His encouragement at our fingertips. When we obey the encouragement mandate, the treasures we give are multiplied in our own lives. It’s a win-win situation.
Father, You promise to meet all of our needs. Sometimes You want me to be Your hands and feet. Is there someone who needs to experience Your touch today through me? Thank you for the privilege of being Your "promise keeper."