and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, (Ephesians 6:19 ESV)
Many of you may be familiar with the St Francis of Assisi quote “Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.” I’m not sure of what the context is of this quote, so I’m not going to disagree with brother Francis as much as I’ll disagree with those who have quoted this as an excuse towards passive non-verbal Gospel presentation (or lack of presentation thereof).
Imagine a swimming pool, surrounded by a bunch of people dressed in swimming attire but none of them are actually I’m the swimming pool. Some of them dip their toes in and spend all the rest of the time hanging out by the pool. Lots of BBQ. No swimming. Can it be that (regardless of what Kendrick Lamar might say), that the same way swimming pools are for swimming, that the Gospel is meant for preaching.
Back to the Francis quote – I do believe with all my heart that a life truly transformed with the gospel should be actively displaying the fruit of a life rooted in the work of Jesus at the cross. But the testament of the gospel being preached without words would be like a silent Manchester United fan at goal time.
Sure there has been bad “preaching” of the gospel – most of it rooted in self advancement rather than self sacrifice. But if you really have experienced the goodness of Gods undeserved grace, it isn’t hard to gossip about it!
Here’s the way id say it:
Live the Gospel at all times, and then naturally, you’ll use words.
reflection/discussion questions: Have you told anyone about the thing you value the most? Why do you think some people find it hard to preach the Gospel?