On Monday I turned the big 29. After a wonderful day with so many people telling me Happy Birthday I began to think about our responsibility as followers of Christ. The basis of this thought began when I downloaded the Passion White Flag album. I was cleaning up around then house and then a Louie Giglio sermon came on related to Ephesians 6:19:
"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel...."
And I began to think. When was the last time that I shared the gospel....and did completely without fear. One of my birthday presents that my wife got for me was to have an old tattoo of mine covered up with a new one. This was really important to me because I got the first cross on my arm before I surrendered my life to Jesus. I got a cross because I thought it was something religious. After giving my life to Christ I have always wanted to have it updated to be more reflective of what the cross truly means. If you look on my twitter feed you can see the updated picture. Anyway, after getting this I have had a few people at my office ask about it; and even in talking to people who I would consider friends at work there is a fear with explaining why.
As an American Society we focus so many times on fearlessly proclaiming stuff that has no eternal value. When I look and had 35 or so people tell me happy birthday on Facebook (and don't get me wrong, I love the fact that I have that many people who care about me) it just re-iterated the fact that this culture points us to proclaim the things of the world. We will fearlessly tell someone Happy Birthday, or Happy Anniversary, or Merry Christmas because we feel that the relationship we have with that person (whatever level it may be) is strong enough to warrant a Happy Birthday comment.
However, we struggle as followers of Christ to fearlessly proclaim the mystery that is the gospel. Does our relationship with Christ not warrant at least telling someone about Him? Do we not see the value in knowing Him? I am not able to answer the questions for everyone but I know how it made me think. If at any point the opportunity presents itself for me to share the gospel, and I don't, whatever the reason may be I am putting a greater value in that. We tell our loved one's happy birthday because we care about them and want to make sure they realize we care about them. Jesus tells us to love our neighbors......shouldn't we be shouting the mystery of the gospel from the rooftops? Shouldn't we be proclaiming the Good News with every moment of our lives, in both word and how we live our lives? Our love for Christ, if we are really grasping it comes down to one thing....."Go and make disciples of all nations...." and you cannot do that without loving our neighbors.
Please understand, I am not saying we should not tell our wives Happy Birthday, I am just challenging us to remember the importance of "fearlessly making know the mystery of the gospel". I will close with this story. When I was in L.A. back in the spring break of 2010 I sat across a park table from an elderly Armenian man who listened to our team fearlessly proclaim the gospel to him. His response was simple. "Why? Why has no ever told me about this Jesus?" Now, we didn't have an invitation right there and he come to the Lord, but that moment in time will live with me forever. I bet his friends had told him Happy Birthday on his last birthday, but not one single follower of Christ had fearlessly proclaimed the mystery of the gospel to this man. Whenever we open our mouths we should let the Holy Spirit guide our words because we never know when He is at work.