Is there someone you are trying to reach for Christ? What qualities should they see in you that would motivate them to want to find out about your Savior?
I friend of mine told me the story of a young American family who left home to move into a South American jungle, establishing a home and working to build bridges in order to share the gospel with the nearby tribes. A year passed but the missionaries had made little progress. The local peoples seemed cautious and even afraid of their white-skinned neighbors.
One day the couple’s little girl went down to the river to play. Suddenly a huge snake attacked, injecting deadly venom into her right arm. The frightened parents prayed and then radioed for help, and a plane was dispatched from the capitol with an antidote. An hour later they heard the engine overhead, but the heavy cloud cover prevented the plane from landing. The pilot sent a message, “I am so sorry, but I am running out of fuel and have to head back.” While their daughter lay dying, they listened, as the growl of the plane’s engine grew faint.
By the end of the day, the little girl was dead. With heavy hearts, her dad and brothers prepared a coffin. The saddened family held a burial service near the garden outside their home. They prayed, sang, held hands, cried, and placed flowers on the gravesite. As they held their vigil, the people they had been trying to reach watched from a distance, hidden and undetected in the trees.
Not much later, some women of the tribe visited the grieving mother and told her that they too, had lost children – but they had never seen the calmness she displayed. They wanted to know how she could sing and pray at such a sad time. They asked how her God could enable her to be so peaceful.
Eighteen months after they moved into the jungle, the door was finally open, and many of the tribal leaders and their families came to hear about, believe, and trust in Jesus. All because of what had happened to a sorrow-filled Christian family and how they had handled it.
Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10.
The gospel lived and preached by Paul, Silas, and Timothy to the Thessalonians was from God the Father (where it originated), and from the Lord Jesus (due to his atoning death, burial, and resurrection). The power of God (v 5) had delivered the Thessalonians from death to life, and they became imitators of Paul (and by extension, Christ). Paul imitated Christ, the Thessalonians now imitated Paul, and the jungle people in South America now imitated their Caucasian neighbors. And like in the first century, news spread about the Baby who died and rose again.
How do you respond to a story like this? Does it seem unfair that a young girl should die so that others can hear the gospel of Jesus? What does it tell you about the grand scheme of life?
Live communally. Someone may be watching you. In good times and bad, our actions tell people about us – and about our God. What are we showing them? If you are concerned about what happens to those who have never heard the gospel, how then will you live?
Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 to “Let your light shine.” Our actions show the God we know.
Love is a verb,