There are two types of people, those who walk in the light of God and those who remain in the darkness. If you have knowledge of God’s Word, He asks that you enlighten others.
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2
There’s a lot of specific instruction laid out in this one verse. 1.) God says that we are to get out there – according to our talents – and tell other people about what is written in the Bible. After all, he didn’t have it recorded thousands of years ago for His own spiritual health. 2.) We aren’t to preach when it’s convenient, but rather at all times, rain or shine, bad days or good. 3.) Don’t be afraid to correct or rebuke someone when needed, but not with judgement or condemnation. Rather, encourage others and be patient. 4.) Lastly, make sure you know what you are talking about. This means you’ll need to pull your Bible down from the mantle, blow off the dust and crack open the cover. Often.
Not all of us are expert conversationalists. You can count me in this group. However, we all possess at least one talent with which we can use to shine a light on God’s Word. If you aren’t putting your talent(s) to use to spread the Word, you are doing Christianity a disservice. Every day, whether you like it or not, you are a representative of the faith; you are a teacher.
Years ago, an alcoholic and all around not-so-good-person – escorted by another who cared deeply for him – sat in the now late Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s church office. Dr. McGee went through the usual with him: you’re a sinner, you’re hurting your family and friends, you’re hurting yourself, no one wants to be around you, you’re (basically) a no good, dirty rotten scoundrel. None of this phased him. In fact, he agreed and didn’t seem to be all that upset by the pain he had caused in his life and in the lives of others. It was only when Dr. McGee asked, “Did you know that you are a preacher?” that the man jumped up and in a loud, nearly belligerent voice, told Dr. McGee that he may be a lot of things in life, but a preacher he was not. Unfortunately, this man did not realize the implications his actions were responsible for. Through the example of his life, this drunkard was preaching alcoholism, mental abuse and whatever else he might have been partaking in.
Whoever you are, you are a preacher. Everything you say and do will be noted by others around you. What does your life say?
I do my best – never good enough, I should note – to be the very best preacher I can be, according to my talents. You’ll probably never catch me in a full-on heated debate with someone. I’m just not that quick on the draw. Plus, I’m not one for confrontation, if at all possible. Instead, I try to teach others about God’s Word, or lead by example, in ways that are true to my skills.
Most of what I do for Christianity – outside of this blog – is subtle. For example, sometimes I neglect to put my Bible away after thumbing through it during my lunch break. It will wind up sitting open on my desk for the remainder of the day. Later, I’ll realize that since then at least a few people have been to my desk for one reason or another and maybe, just maybe, they noticed that open Bible. And maybe, the door to their soul crept open just enough for the Holy Spirit to whisper a few words to him or her in that moment.
And then there are folks like this man (name unknown) who take to the streets everyday to spread God’s Word.
I don’t think there’s been a day when I’ve been in Forsyth Park and not seen him, or at least heard his booming voice through the rows of oaks trees. “Be warrrrrrned!” He carries with him this sign, small cards that have a simple message of faith on them – which he cleverly leaves about – and self-printed sheets of paper with a Christian message typed on them.
This man doesn’t covertly leave bibles laying around. He literally preaches. Loudly. I asked him, “Don’t you ever get tired?” to which he replied with no hesitation, “No!”
He fired a question off at me. “Do you know how to keep the light on?” I’m sure I had a puzzled look on my face. “By keeping the dark away. And, that’s what I’m doing. Keeping the light on.”
His message to anyone who will listen is this: Be warned. If you accept what is good (what is taught in the Bible) you will allow your life to be led by God, walk in His light and naturally teach to others accordingly. However, if you accept what is evil, you will be led by Satan, surrounded in darkness and teach wickedness.
It’s a pretty simplistic message really, but we must consider the audience: passersby on vacation with no time to share with a stranger, college students and homeless men and women. He is unafraid and undaunted, despite the self-appointed long hours, the Savannah weather and the tough audience.
I must admit that I am no Forsyth Park evangelist; I’m not cut from the same mold. Most of us aren’t, but thankfully we don’t have to be. It is, however, our responsibility to keep the light on.