Have you ever known a young woman who just got engaged, or a couple who found out that they are expecting their first baby (or maybe just learning if it would be a boy or a girl)? How about a high school student who got into the college that they really wanted to, or who made the team that they had practiced really hard for? What do they do? They want to tell everyone!
Paul the apostle seems to have been nearly as excited about the news he had been entrusted with. In fact, Paul had some good news that was even better than the examples above (see Luke 2:9-11), and he wanted everyone to know, too.
And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
2 Timothy 1:11-12 NIV
I like the term “herald”. I imagine a medieval guy with a big trumpet (whether on the castle wall, or in the town square), announcing the good news that the God of the universe has brought to all people, and proclaiming that a great King, Jesus Christ, is coming back with salvation for everyone who will join Him.
Now that God has finally showed us how this amazing plan of salvation works, we don’t only share in the excitement of accepting it ourselves, but we also get to tell everyone else that they can join, too.
So, does this same enthusiasm mark our conversations with others about our faith? To be clear, I’m not trying to judge anyone. I recently ran into a situation where I could share my faith with someone else, and I got nervous, too.
To help us in this mission, I believe that it is good for Christians to periodically remember just how great our salvation is. Rather than having Satan throw guilt as us for missing potential opportunities in the past, I would much rather have us regain and retain the excitement of the early church, and then take that passion for getting the word out, going forth and becoming heralds of the gospel ourselves.
While we might look back at missed opportunities, we can’t change them. The only benefit that we can get from looking back is to learn how to do better in the future, or to pray to the God of the past, present, and future, that he would work out good things even in our mistakes.
Instead of looking back too much, though, I hope that every one of us will look forward to the future: to the next conversation that we’ll have today; to the next letter, phone call, e-mail, or text that we’ll share; to all of the people we’ll talk with this week. As we look forward, the more that we are overwhelmed by the greatness and joy of the gospel, the more that I hope we’ll be excited to tell other people about that good news, and share with them in the hope of salvation.
Note that this only makes sense if our God is completely faithful and entirely trustworthy. We can only live a life of sacrifice and service if we have the faith – the confidence – that God will make all things right in the end, and that we can trust Him to keep HIs promises. That is living out our faith, rather than just making lofty claims about what we believe.
With that reality (of how amazing the gospel is) firmly planted in our hearts, there’s no more reason to fear suffering or to be embarrassed. We know that Jesus is faithful and not only is His message true, but any short-term discomfort that we experience in this world will be offset infinitely more with the blessing of Heaven.
Like someone who has just gotten engaged, naysayers simply cannot drag down those who are excited about the truth.
From Sunday School lesson, prepared for and taught on October 11, 2020.
- Christian Standard, Volume CLV, Number 10, pages 83-84. © 2020 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- The College Press Commentary, 1, 2 Timothy & Titus, by C. Michael Moss. Ph. D. College Press Publishing Company, © 1994.