And Are We yet Alive?
“Leaving Bristol after preaching at five, in the evening I preached at Stroud; where, to my surprise, I found the morning preaching was given up, as also in the neighboring places. If this be the case while I am alive, what must it be when I am gone? Give up this, and Methodism too will degenerate into a mere sect, only distinguished by some opinions and modes of worship.”
John Wesley Journal- March 15, 1784
Wesley was distressed when the opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus Christ were not seized upon. The sharing of the Gospel was the heart and blood of Methodism from its inception. Engaging people in the matters of faith were first and foremost the work of Methodists; preachers, class leaders, men, women and children. Unfortunately, many Methodists today seem reluctant, ill at ease, ill equipped, or ill prepared to do that foundational and basic task. Or perhaps we’ve gotten distracted by other well intended things. Have we “given up?”
Every morning, every afternoon, every evening we are given opportunities to share the Good News. As we go about our daily lives, at grocery stores, car repair shops, the bank, the bridge table, the play ground, the break room, the restaurant, at home; we encounter people, colleagues, strangers, family members who need to know that God loves them. Perhaps we don’t deliver a formal sermon with three points and a closing prayer, but we do (or should) find a way to naturally talk about faith, hope, trust, assurance, peace, love, faithfulness. We live as if Christ were alive (we do believe in the resurrection don’t we?!)
There will be plenty of hype about the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day this month. I have nothing against either celebration and will participate in both personally. However, there is something much more important for us to be about – sharing the Gospel to a broken world and to a child of God who is lost.
As we enter into the season of Lent and are reflective about our spiritual conditions, let us give thanks to God for the person who found a way to share the gospel with us. Let us find a way for us to be that person for someone else – then, we can claim to be truly Methodists.
David S. Naglee