“Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks about your hope.” 1 Peter 3:15
“27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. 28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the [i]best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.” 1Corinthians 12:27-31
I’ve always felt uncomfortable about being told we should be telling others about Jesus. Even though I’m a teacher, I don’t like public speaking. Speaking one-on-one about Jesus seems very pushy and awkward for me. The part of the New Testament I do like is the “plant the seed” analogy. I want to plant seeds of hope, but without talking about it.
For the past five years, I have been visiting in the same poor neighborhood of Juarez, Mexico, staying with a family there. The mother of this family is very outgoing and hardworking. She is a Christian and is committed to raising her children to stay in school and prosper. When I visit, we pray before meals and attend church with the children. Her husband is introverted, hardworking, and committed to the same goals as his wife, but has no relationship with God. He usually watches soccer while we eat. The boys are beginning to pray at meals so I assume they are praying when I am not there.
Recently, I happened to be there when their young daughter had a severe pneumonia diagnosis. With the help of many supporters, I was able to help get their daughter admitted into a private hospital where she stayed five days. During that time, I alternated between keeping their sons and staying at the hospital. I also provided transportation since their car was in the shop. When the little girl finally came home, we sat down to eat supper. The father was the first to grab hands and ask his wife to pray.
Before bed that night, the usually quiet father sat down to talk to me. He told me that he had never had the support of family and neither had his wife. He explained how they never understood what family was. He said that my actions that week and during the time we had known each other had showed him what family does in the good times and in the bad. He wanted to thank me and all the many people who supported them monetarily and in prayer.
I believe that our actions can be a powerful sermon for others. Many of you have been a part of this story, praying, sending, going, giving. Not everyone is given the gift of preaching, but we each have a way to serve. So, let us “preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.”
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