Monday, January 28, 2008

Embracing the unexpected.

The other night my daughter prayed to accept Christ. She is four years old. She also prayed that alligators and snapping turtles would not come to our house so it’s a toss up whether that was her official moment of salvation. (I think it was.)

It made me realize though that I’ve never really shared the gospel with someone. I mean in a sense, I share the gospel all the time with my blogs, but that’s different. That’s mean sitting alone writing something else that someone far away, like in South Africa, reads alone.

Why is that? Why am I so afraid to share Christ with someone? I think in large part it’s because I’ve complicated it. I’ve bought into the idea that you have to be a biblical scholar or have a really airtight answer prepared for evolution or premarital sex or a million other sticky topics before you talk with someone. And then I see how Christ did it.

In John 4 we get the famous conversation with the woman at the well. I never realized how simple Christ approaches the whole situation. Here is the first thing he says to her:

“Will you give me a drink of water?”

That’s it. That’s his entire opening statement. Not “Do you want to know the eternal love and salvation of the heavenly father?” Not, “Do you want to interact with the living fulfillment of prophesy?” He just asked for a drink.

What was special about that though was the context. No respectable Jewish man would ask that of a Samaritan woman. So by asking that question he was doing a lot more than getting some water, he was doing the unexpected.

I think that, the idea of doing the unexpected, lies at the very core of Christianity. For above all, we are called to love, and love is never expected. Helping an enemy at work on a project is never expected. Making the first steps toward your mom even though she owes you an apology is never expected. Volunteering at a local shelter is never expected.

But when we do the unexpected, we raise questions. Just like the Samaritan woman responded by saying, “How can you ask me for a drink?” we cause people to wonder. That’s one of my favorite parts of the Prodigal Son story. When the older brother comes home and asks about the dancing and the music. He’s engaging in the unexpected. He’s swept up in the unexpected and can’t help but ask questions. And I think that’s what we are called to do. To live our lives in such a way that people can’t help but ask questions.

The one I have for you today is simple, “When is the last time you did something unexpected for someone?”


Anonymous said...

mmm... so true. we complicate things to the point of being immobilized by them. sharing Christ should be a lot simpler than we've made it to be.

at the same time, don't underestimate the power of you sitting alone writing something that someone far away, like in south africa, reads alone. i'm the one reading alone in south africa, and i am challenged and encouraged by your words.

Charlene said...

Enjoying being challenged as I read from South Africa! Thanks for writting.

JJ said...

Great post!! This is one of the things that Young Life taught me, the idea of relational evangelism. "Give me something to drink" could be our modern day "I overheard you play tennis, how long have you been playing" or "did you happen to catch that story about..." I've been known to over complicate evangelism for sure. This was a great reminder today.