Switch on the Sun. Element of design.

Sometimes I get so caught up in making sure I’m doing things “right” that I’m more concerned about the process than the content. I want my efforts to look good and to be effective. God doesn’t call us to look good or be effective…he calls us to obey him and share what we know with others. He offers no tips on clever presentation or marketing strategy because his love for the world is not about selling; it is about accepting his love. He is not dependent on our ability to communicate his love to the world, but he chooses to share that process with us so that we can see a glimpse of his glory and love…in us and in the hearts of those around us.

One of my favorite sermon/testimonies in the Bible was delivered by a Samaritan woman. Jews despised Samaritans in general, and this particular woman seemed to be despised even by her own village. She went to the well when she hoped no one would be there, and Jesus was waiting for her. He looked past what she had done and saw who she was, who she could be. Her response was to leave her water jar at the well and return to the people she was trying to avoid. She told them,

John 4:39 He told me everything I ever did.

That’s it! No clever presentation, no eloquent analysis of scripture or the Roman Road to salvation. She simply told what she knew. And that made all the difference. Because she told them her story, those that had rejected her accepted the Christ that she introduced them to.

John 4:42 We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that his man really is the Savior of the world.

Are you ready for the sermon that is the catalyst for the largest mass conversion recorded in the Bible?

Jon 3:4b “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.”

That’s it! This pathetic, dispassionate attempt at a sermon converted 120,000 people, including the king of Nineveh. But the key to it is in verse 5. The Ninevites heard Jonah, but “they believed God”.

 One of these told people of her encounter with Jesus. The other simply repeated words that God gave him to say. Both led others to choose God for themselves. Seminaries offer courses in how to effectively preach. These two would undoubtedly be examples used in those courses of what NOT to do…but God’s ability to enter into the hearts of those who resist him isn’t dependent on presentation or how eloquently we can speak. It’s not about the packaging or the clever strategy. It may be nothing more or less than whether or not we do what we are told to do and share what we know about him. God can speak to others without us, but how amazing, how awesome it is, when the God of the universe pulls us out of the crowd and says, “You, I want you to be a part of this one.”  He doesn’t need our capabilities; he just wants to share the moment with us.

God didn’t call me to be a great theologian or evangelist. I don’t have amazing intellect or a string of impressive letters after my name. I’m not famous, and I’m very prone to mistakes and missteps. But I worship the God who is amazing, the God who is so holy and powerful that the Bible gives him many names, just trying to capture various aspects of his character and his heart. He can’t be reduced to a catchy slogan or captured in a clever strategy. His relentless pursuit of my heart has given me a story and a perspective on the amazing God who cares and loves each of us more than we are capable of completely understanding. His strength perfects my weakness. God has given me a story with him that he wants to use to touch the hearts of some others. Ultimately, it’s never about me; it’s about God. When people are impressed by clever, they admire the speaker. God doesn’t call us to build a kingdom for ourselves; he doesn’t tell us to make sure others admire us. He calls us to encourage others to know him. Lives are changed through loving God, not admiration of the messenger. God wants to use my obedience in sharing what I know to make others aware that he loves them, as well. He wants the same for and from you.