“For we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard”- Acts 4:20 (ESV)
May 26, 2009 is a day that will forever be etched into my memory. My wife Kerri and I had been married for two and a half years, and had been trying for one and a half of those years- up to that point, in vain- to grow our family with the addition of our first child. Month after month, though, it wasn’t happening.
We visited doctors. We had tests run. We spent money. We prayed fervently. And nothing happened.
We visited more doctors. We had more tests run. We spent more money. We prayed more fervently, even desperately. And still, nothing happened.
On and on this process went, until at some point we were told that this just may not happen for us. There were issues that simply may not be able to be resolved apart from significant- and extremely expensive- medical intervention. In sadness and frustration- and at that point, out of money to spend on more doctors and more tests- we determined to take a month “off” from trying, to step back and ask God what he had in store for our family.
But on the morning of May 26, Kerri had a hunch. It was admittedly a small one, an unlikely one, but it was a hunch nonetheless, that something may (emphasis on a very unlikely may)be going on. With a primary motivation to put that notion to rest, she bought a pregnancy test. The church was actually between the pharmacy and our home, and for whatever reason, we decided to stop there so Kerri would take the test. She went in to do so, as I milled around the Connection Center area.
To be completely honest, neither of us walked into that building that afternoon with a shred of real expectation. The test taking was much less an act born of hope and much more an attempt to squelch any pesky hope that might taunt us for yet another month.
But then, I heard the gasp, and in that moment, I knew something was up. Seconds later, Kerri whipped around the corner, pregnancy test in hand, and with joy (and shock!) on her face, unable to even speak, mouthed to me the words, “I’m pregnant!”
She ran to me. We embraced. We cried. We rejoiced. We danced around that Connection Center like children, unhindered and undignified. And then, we told anyone and everyone we could find.
Pastor Kirk was the only other person at the church office that afternoon, so he was the first to know. When we told him, he (not surprisingly) cried and rejoiced with us too. From there, we told our parents, our siblings, our friends, and more. The next day, we actually drove around town, from house to house, making the announcement to friends in all manner of fun and creative ways. Our hearts were filled with joy, and we just couldn’t keep it to ourselves. The thing we had hoped for, longed for, and prayed for had now come true. God had graced us with an incredible gift, and it was more than worth sharing.
This is precisely the heart from which- and with which- God has called and commanded us as His people to share His Gospel with others. In Jesus, God has given each of us- desperate sinners, hopeless and helpless apart from Him- the too-good-to-be-true gift of a restored relationship with Him, eternal life now and forever. Through the Gospel of grace, our once-empty, once-despairing hearts are filled with unspeakable joy, and as that joy overflows, the natural and expected outcome is that we will share it with others who need to experience it just as desperately as we do.
Too often, sharing beyond is seen as a burden or a chore, as though we are making some awkward “sales pitch” to our unbelieving friends and neighbors. Full disclosure here- I know I’ve been guilty of viewing it that way. But this was never God’s intention in giving us this commission. He has given us a gift worth sharing with the world, and given us the great privilege of partnering with Him to do so. That doesn’t mean it is always easy or comfortable to do so- if it was, I wouldn’t be writing this article- but it also means that this may look far different than we have assumed.
This week, I encourage and challenge you to shift your perspective and practice from “selling” Jesus to truly “sharing” Him with those who don’t know Him. Do it naturally. Do it freely. Do it authentically. Let others see that Jesus has filled your heart through His Gospel, and that it just can’t help but overflow into everyday conversation and interaction. At some point, the more and more we do this, it won’t be all that surprising- to us, or to others- that we would do this; it simply becomes who we are.
Will you take a step toward this today? Will you reflect on the life changing reality of Jesus in you? Will you, in joy, share that with at least one person who needs to experience that reality too? I pray God gives you the vision, wisdom, and courage to take that step as we share from the overflow of hearts captured by grace.