Feb 7, 2011

Dare to Share

Recently one of our newer members asked me why we are doing the “Dare to Share” program in our church. This query from someone who is a direct beneficiary of another’s evangelistic effort. But as I reflect on this circumstance, I quickly realized that some of the best gifts I ever received were gifts I failed to appreciate at the time. I also neglected to note the depth of the other’s giving too—and was therefore not yet ready to be grateful!

“Dare to Share” tries to answer a question such as: “How can ordinary Christians talk about God and faith when we are not in church?” The answer will be provided in part by Thomas Q. Robbins over the next several weeks. He will remind us among other things that we all have a story to tell. We each have good news to share. It is good news that gives all people hope and joy and purpose. But why would we as individual believers want to do such a thing? Because we have pledged allegiance to God’s Kingdom, ushered in by Jesus.

We are to spread Jesus’ fame. Yet, even these nineteen or twenty centuries later, we too are puzzled about who Jesus is. But whether or not we understand Jesus, we have nonetheless pledged to live under his authority. The authority of Jesus’ extends to every aspect of his original disciple’s life and, therefore, to our lives. It is our task to help establish and extend that authority by all the means at our disposal. More than any other task, ours is a teaching task: to help the world learn, see, and understand the authority of Jesus. If we are able to do this, even in part, then we will have done our faithful part in spreading Jesus’ fame, and it is to be hoped, for the salvation of the world.

Gerald Bonner (The Library of History and Doctrine, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1963) alludes to the teaching life of St. Augustine:
Less than nine months after his [Augustine’s] death, Pope Celestine admirably expressed the view of Western Christians in a solemn tribute to his memory. ‘The life and merits of Augustine, that man of holy memory, always kept him in Our communion, nor was he ever assailed by so much as a suspicion of evil. We remember him as a man of such great wisdom that he was always reckoned by Our predecessors among the greatest teachers.’ This verdict would have been enthusiastically endorsed by Augustine's flock at Hippo (p. 149).

Perhaps, as we receive the body and blood of Christ in our day as an act of worship in Christ’s church, we too, can teach about the one who has taught us with authority. By the quality of our life together, perhaps, those in our community can see the authority of Christ for their lives and for our world. This is what I have been thinking about when I think about “Dare to Share.”

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