Perhaps you’ve heard the saying attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.
He was reported to have said to a group of fellow missionaries, "Preach the Gospel. Use words if necessary."
Fascinating, to say the least. And in light of what I wrote last week, it makes sense. I simply reminded you last week of the need to live out the things that we claim to believe.
But there are two issues with this saying. The first is that Francis probably never said it. I’ve tried to discover the actual origin of the statement, but have had no success. It seems pretty clear that Francis was not the original speaker, and again, that makes sense. After all, he was a preacher himself.
The second issue is that it was only a couple of weeks ago that I read this. One writer put it this way: "To say, ‘Preach the Gospel. Use words if necessary,’ is closely akin to saying, ‘Feed the poor. Use food if necessary.’"
Wow. The point is simple. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a message that needs to be shared. We have been called to live it out, but none of us will do so perfectly.
And so, if others are to know who Jesus is and what he has done for us, we will have to tell the story.
We live in a time when the story of Jesus is not well known. Even where we live, in the buckle of the so-called "Bible Belt," many simply do not know the stories and truths of the Scriptures.
There is no question that we need to live out the truths we know. But we also must share the story of what Jesus has done for us.
The Lord’s final words to his followers was, "You will be my witnesses." I pray that we will be just that.