Locations & Times

Being Informative about Jesus Christ - It’s our Job Description

We might be able to nudge someone towards Christ. But that won’t happen if you and I are incoherent, irrelevant, or inaudible.

by Jeff Lucas on November 15, 2021

I is for….

I know, I often write about airports. That’s because I spend much of my life in them. I find airports increasingly stressful, especially when passing through security. It’s hard to relax while being eyed up by stony-faced officials who are concerned that you might be smuggling a nuclear warhead in your carry-on, or, worse still, a bottle of water. But I especially dislike the immigration area with those automatic barriers that lead to passport scanners. I worry that a malfunctioning gate might treat me to a free amputation, and I like both my legs. 

Approaching the immigration zone in an airport recently, I joined the mildly befogged gaggle of bleary-eyed passengers who were sleep-deprived from their night flights. Unsure of which lane to choose, we approached a bored-looking chap who was sporting an employee badge. He would be the one to ask, or so I thought. I was so very wrong. 

"Are we in the right passport check lane?" I asked.

"Go, whatever, there, green light," he mumbled, which did nothing to dispel my confusion. 

"Sorry, what did you say?" I ventured hopefully but in vain.

"Yes, go, stand, wait, no," he replied.

Other passengers approached him. He grunted, responding with sentences that were quite incomprehensible. He impatiently waved some on without an answer.  One by one people shrugged their shoulders, and shuffled on, none the wiser. 

It was then that I noticed that this uncommunicative chap had a huge letter "i" printed on the back of his t-shirt, the "i" enclosed in a florescent yellow circle. The word ‘information’ was printed under the circle. He is employed for one purpose - to provide information for hapless travelers. Being informative is his job description. But for whatever reason, nobody could extract anything remotely helpful from him.

I’m wondering if something similar has happened to some of us. When it comes to clearly sharing the gospel - which is news that is good - I think we’ve gone rather quiet, if not almost mute. I’ve heard those sermons that rightly call us to social engagement, but the sermons usually include an ancient quote that’s wrongly attributed to St Francis of Assisi. Francis is famous, not only for chatting with squirrels but for also modeling a life that dramatically pointed to the kingdom of God. Perhaps you’ve heard the quote: "By all means, preach the gospel. If necessary, use words." This implies that living the message is enough, there’s no need to verbalize it, and it’s preferable if you don’t. This teaching brought enormous relief to many, including me, because in my early days of faith, I inanely blethered on about God to just about everyone who would listen and a few who never did listen. 

Being informative about Jesus Christ - It’s our job description.

But the man from Assisi didn’t teach that at all. He actually said, "It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching." Francis’ message was simple: don’t broadcast an idea if your life totally contradicts the broadcast. Live what you believe. 

The gospel has always been news to both show and tell. The story needs to be spoken, as is evidenced by some words that come from another ancient, Paul the apostle. In his letter to Titus, his apprentice who had the tough task of leading a church in the island of Crete, where people were famously awkward, Paul encourages slaves to live a gospel life that will enhance gospel truth ‘so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Saviour attractive’ (Titus 2:10). That doesn’t mean that every act of goodness must be accompanied by proclamation, but it does surely mean that we are really, willing and able to talk naturally about Jesus and His love as opportunity affords. 

There are people who are lost who very much need to be found. They need to be informed about the Way to life. Who knows? Today we might be able to nudge someone towards Christ. But that won’t happen if you and I are incoherent, irrelevant, or inaudible. 

Being informative about Jesus. It’s our job description. 

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Tags: informative about jesus, about jesus christ

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