What do you know?

Luke 2:9-14 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

I have to admit that I was disappointed when someone pointed out to me that the verb in this passage is “say”, not “sing”. One of the things I want to do in heaven is to hear the angel choir. I expect there will be clarity and harmony far superior to any we hear on earth. I suspect on that night, their voices were easily distinguishable from human voices. But it is what they said that makes all the difference.

They did not recount biblical history or give in depth analysis of God’s character or plan. They did not present the plan of salvation or explain how this event would expand modern theology. There was no sermon, no grand presentation of complicated doctrine. There wasn’t even a command! One angel came and made a simple announcement, and then suddenly a bunch of other angels appeared and praised God.

I wonder if the angels were there all along, but just let Gabriel make the announcement before they showed themselves. I wonder what the voices of the angels sounded like. When they left the shepherds where did they go? Back to heaven? Back to the manger? Did they watch over the shepherds as they traveled? Whatever the angels did next is not part of the story. Their job that night was simply to tell the facts to people who needed to choose for themselves how they would respond. They shared information and an invitation that glorified God and brought joy to his people.

We are not the same as angels, but God commands the same sharing from us. Too often we refuse to tell what we know about God because we think we’re not smart enough or that we might make the person we’re talking to uncomfortable. We keep what we know to ourselves out of fear of rejection or self-doubt or laziness.

We live in a world that is lost. Each of us knows people that are hopeless, desperate, sad, despairing. If you were dying and I had the medicine to heal you in my pocket, but refused to give it to you, I would be cruel and heartless and evil. There is something innate in humans that requires us to share what would improve the lot of others.

What do you know about God? What have you learned about him? Who in your life needs to hear what you know? God may not call you to be a great preacher or teacher or healer, but he does command that each of us go to a world that does not know him and tell what we do know about him. God’s word is more precious to me with each passing day. I love its stories, but those stories are not my story. I learn about myself from its stories, but it is my story that gives me passion. It is my story that I can share with authority. It is my story that has given the faith to trust God for the next step. I’m not a great preacher like Billy Graham or a merciful caregiver like Mother Theresa. God has given me a different story. In the Bible stories and in my stories the awesome moments when God shows himself are those times when his people are incapable of saving themselves. In those moments where we have no power or control, we see God in action.

It is inconceivable to me that God would send angels to find shepherds to invite to the celebration of Jesus’ birth. It is equally inconceivable that God seeks us individually to teach us about himself. When he makes himself known to us, our only obedient response is to share what we’ve learned about him.

God wants us to have a story with him. That’s what happens in relationship. Sharing life and fellowship gives you a common history and understanding of that person. Your testimony about God doesn’t have to explain or preach. The angels just told what they knew to be true. Your response should be the same. May your willingness to tell what you know about God lead others to seek him and cause them to praise him.