Making Our Lives Good News

Used with permission: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/christmas-joy-1251264

Used with permission: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/christmas-joy-1251264

Marissa and I tend to find ourselves in these situations where we begin honest conversations with complete strangers. I’m sure a number of you can relate.

Sometimes it’s gong out to dinner and beginning a conversation with our waiter, or chatting with somebody in line at Starbucks. Or, like what happened last weekend, we end up talking for thirty minutes with someone who came by our garage sale. He didn’t buy anything, but we talked about Jesus for a while, so it was cool.

These conversations begin naturally and simply and I’m often blown away by the tiny bits of grace and truth woven in. It’s like adding a little salt to the mix. It’s nothing big, but I’m convinced it makes a difference. I’m also convinced that the best way to share your faith is by simply letting your life be good news.

We had a similar experience last Sunday. We ended up talking and sharing with a sales associate, who was trying to get us to purchase a timeshare. We have nothing against time shares at all, but we knew we weren’t buying no matter what.

We sat through the seminar to get a free lunch and a free stay at a hotel. We figured we could say “No” a few times for those incentives. Don’t judge us–we like free stuff.

Anyway, what started as a presentation about vacations and travel, turned into a transparent conversation about God, faith, relationships, and compassion. I don’t know how it happened. Most of the times, these kind of conversations just naturally unfold without much effort.

Normally, these convos don’t turn into a full on presentation of the gospel. I usually don’t bust out the book of Romans or engage in apologetics. Not that it couldn’t happen, but it usually doesn’t…and that’s not my style anyways. These interactions are more subtle…and tactful.

Typically, these conversations are full of encouragement and love and compassion and faith. It’s showing someone they matter by the way we listen and share. Sometimes it’s just planting little seeds of hope and we’re not sure what comes of them, we just know we’re called to plant them. God is the grower after all.

As Marissa has been fond of saying lately, “A lot of people are lonely. Sometimes they just need to feel like they’re not alone for a while.”

I’m learning more and more that sharing about Jesus sometimes looks like that–it looks like being a person who spills love and acceptance over to all people.

Sure. Words matter. They matter a lot. God’s Word needs to be articulated and spoken.

Francis of Assisi had this famous quote about always preaching the gospel and when necessary using words. I like that, but the truth is, sometimes we need to use words.

Other times, though, our lives are those words.

The way we share and celebrate and encourage and instill faith is gospel. When people leave our presence, are they refreshed and inspired? Are they better off than they were before? Because that’s good news. And God uses that.

When someone finds out you follow Jesus and their experience with you is uplifting and refreshing, that’s showing them what God is like–a Father who loves them, who knows their name, and who is near them.

I’ve written about this before, but often times when people hear that I’m a pastor, it causes this automatic reaction. They tense up. They talk less. Usually, they start apologizing.

This used to frustrate me, but now I just laugh it off. I put them at ease. I tell them they’re fine and not to worry about it. “I’m not one of those pastors,” I say.

When people feel at ease, especially after they know my profession, something pretty amazing happens. When they keep talking with me and Marissa and they don’t get that standoffish, judgmental, superiority complex that, unfortunately, is associated with Christians at times, I get excited. For me, that’s a win.

If I can show someone that I am for them, that I hear them and care for them, and if they can connect that truth with Jesus, that is an incredible thing.

See, I want my entire life to be good news. I want my words to reflect Christ, but also my listening, my patience, my way of existing on this planet. When people share their story with me, I want them to know that I hear that story, that I feel it.

I want them to know that there is another person on this planet who is for them, no matter what.

Good news looks like smiles and warm receptions. It sounds like questions and affirmations. It feels like connection and community. Sometimes this happens in small, seemingly innocuous encounters. But the Bible, you know, is full of those kind of gospel-infused meetings.

God is in the details, just like He’s in the small and mundane, the regular and the ordinary. With His breath in our lungs, let us not forget we are breathing His presence into every situation we find ourselves in.

If that is truly the case, then He’s in every moment and every encounter and every bit of human interaction we find ourselves in.

There’s a choice in all of this, isn’t there?

The choice to be good news.

Not just the words we share, but the way we live.

I’ve worked with students for a number of years, and I agree with what youth pastor and author Brock Morgan said about evangelism and teenagers: “Before students make a decision for Jesus, they’re first asking if they want to be like you and your friends.”

Let’s be real–adults are asking the same thing too. It’s crazy how we can be the biggest open door to the gospel, or the biggest hindrance to it.

I don’t want to be a hindrance to Jesus.

I want to scatter seeds of grace and truth around. I want to add salt and light to conversations and encounters, looking for openings to share Jesus, but also just for opportunities to be a person of love and compassion. Because people need that.

A lot of people are lonely. At times, they need someone to show them they’re cared for, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Who knows how God uses these ordinary encounters. I just believe He does.

We can make our lives good news. We can be the kind of news that is refreshing and invigorating. When people talk with us, we can leave them better than they were before.

For those of us who know Jesus, let’s represent Him well with our words and actions.

Let’s boldly offer the world a glimpse at Christ by how we infuse others with joy and love and compassion.

Let’s allow our lives–the way we live, the way we talk, the way we interact with others–to be good news wherever we are, and wherever we go.

 

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