Tag Archives: Gospel

Dirty Feet = Sleepless Nights

Why does Jesus instruct the disciples to shake the dust off their feet when met with those who do not welcome them or listen to the Gospel? How many times have you given someone advice they didn’t follow or tried to reason with someone who is irrational or shared the Gospel with someone only for them to reject it? Our lives are full of situations and people we cannot control. What are we to do to keep it from destroying our peace?

Several years ago a man from Louisiana came to teach the staff where I work how to improve customer service. I must say, his metaphors weren’t really relatable for a room full of Bay Area urbanites, but one thing I will never forget him saying, partially because it was so absolutely unexpected, was “don’t wrestle a pig.” His statement was supposed to address a difficult customer. What happens when you wrestle a pig? Well, I’ve seen my niece do it. She was trying to catch the pig, so she got in the pen, approached the pig slowly, bent down, and wow, did that pig ever take off as fast as he could go. So my niece did what any young farmer would do, she tried to corner the pig. It turns out this pig was too small to corner because he ran right between her legs. Seeing my niece’s frustration, my sister got in the pen to help. Well, that just made things more complicated. When she finally did catch the pig, she could only hold on to him long enough to take a photo, and then the pig was off again, the whole time squealing as loud as he could.

Perhaps trying to convince someone of the truth when they’ve already made up their mind or decided they don’t care, is like wrestling a pig. It’s no use! You just get your feet dirty. Maybe that’s why Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet when they’ve met someone who doesn’t welcome them or listen to the Gospel message.

Jesus knew that if the disciples tried to control the person or town they were trying to influence, they would only push them further away and cause themselves more pain. That’s why this is mentioned several times in the New Testament, three of which are in Matthew 10, Mark 6, and Luke 9. If you’re like me, you even lose sleep over a disagreement, misunderstanding, or situation you can’t control even if you have tried time and time again to reconcile. We cannot always agree on everything, and just because we wish we could all get along doesn’t mean we actually do get along. Even Jesus didn’t get along with everyone, and we know he was sinless. Sometimes getting along is the worst thing you can do because sometimes the right thing to do stirs up controversy. Sometimes the right thing to say is too hard for the other person to hear.

Those are the instances when we must press on and shake the dust off our feet because, as your mother always said, it’s simply not healthy to go to bed with dirty feet. It’s simply not worth giving up our peace.

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When Curiosity Strikes

When curiosity strikes we have the opportunity to share. Today, while working with one of the volunteers, she, out of the blue, asked, “What is Easter? I mean, I see all the bunnies and eggs, but why do people celebrate it?” Oh boy! I think many of us, including myself, tend to assume that everyone in the U.S. knows why we celebrate Easter and Christmas, but it’s just not true. There are many people, especially those of other cultures or faiths that don’t know the true meaning of Easter.

After she asked this I perked up. Okay, I gotta get ready to shine! I want to really tell it the way God would want me to, so I explained that the bunnies and the eggs don’t really have anything to do with the true meaning of Easter. It involves something much more mysterious, much more exciting. Easter celebrates the resurrection, the rising from the dead, of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is also part of the three-part God. He was sent here as a final sacrifice for forgiveness of the sins of everyone. In the past people had to individually kill and burn/sacrifice flawless, first born animals to atone for their sins, but not anymore. That is why Jesus died, and that is why Good Friday is celebrated. It is good because that is when our sins were forgiven. The resurrection was to fulfill a prophesy. He said He would rise and He did, proving His love and integrity.

She looked amazed, “Wow, I thought it was all about eggs and bunnies!” Suddenly we had not just shared a task of updating the grief resource list, but we had shared the gospel. What a privilege to see her face light up as she heard it for the first time.

Oh merciful Father, I thank you for the grace you show me each day. Thank you for sending your Son to die on that cross, and thank you for rising again, not only to fulfill a prophesy, but to give me hope for new life, a spiritual resurrection of my own. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that we are forgiven and free. Sometimes we remember it in our mind but not in our spirit. Help us to be reassured and comforted, and to speak your truth even in the midst of fear and doubt and frustration. When we are weak, you make us strong. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Epidemic Evangelism

Last night was my birthday and, wow, did I have a good dinner. My boyfriend and I went to Burma Superstar, an amazing mix of cultural dishes packaged into one bustling Oakland restaurant. I could not write enough Yelp reviews, tell enough friends, or Instagram enough photos to explain the absolute heaven it was to my taste buds. This is how I feel about Jesus.

Despite our somewhat fanatical culture of Tweets, Instagrams, and Yelp people still run in fear of their evangelist neighbor. Could the evangelists of yesterday (or maybe the movies) be painting an ugly picture of today’s everyday evangelists? Perhaps the fear lies in the guilt and shame of having someone virtually hit you over the head with the Bible. Even Christians fear the bully evangelist.

Have we considered though, that our everyday actions and words speak volumes about our faith? If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ it’s likely that you discuss your faith or at least your faith in the context of your life with people other than Christians. Take for instance, and maybe I’m just a chatterbox, but I went to get my haircut yesterday. I told my hairdresser that I grew my hair without cutting it at all for the last year and a half. I had decided after my last haircut that I wouldn’t cut my hair again until after I paid off all my student and car loans. I said, “It kind of reminds me of Samson from the Bible. Do you know his story?” He replied saying he didn’t know this story, so I went on to explain that God gave Samson remarkable strength and that when his hair was cut he temporarily lost that strength.

Now my hairdresser most likely did not go home and give his life to Jesus last night, but this is a seed among many that could someday sprout. He may look back on that simple conversation one day and say, “Hey, that client mentioned the Bible to me once, and how God had given a man remarkable strength. I need some of that strength in my life.” I’m sure I didn’t offend him by mentioning this Bible story in passing because it was part of my story. When you make Jesus part of your story, it will become contagious. People will see what you have, maybe it’s debt-freedom, maybe it’s a joyful spirit, and they will seek it out. Some will seek in wrong places, but as long as we are praying for that individual, our only job is to share what He gave us to share. We cannot control that person’s heart and decide when they become Christian, but we can keep on being mouthpieces for God simply by telling how our stories have changed because of the Gospel.