One of the first books I remember reading to my son after he was born was “Go Dogs Go.” As he grew older, he began to pick out his own stories for bedtime and he would pick “Go Dogs Go” every night. At age 2 1/2 I thought my son was a genius because he knew every word on every page. For a few minuets I thought he was actually reading the book!
In this week’s reading from John, Jesus gives the disciples a commission: “Go and make disciples.” Jesus is telling the disciples to take what they have learned from him and to spread that to all nations. As powerful as that commission is from Jesus the reality is that the disciples are being called into an unseen future. They have been traveling for the last three years with Jesus, relying upon him, trusting him, putting their faith in him and now he is sending them out into the world without his physical presence, without the day to day instruction from Jesus.
As I think about this, I start asking myself how they are feeling about this commission from Jesus. They have been relying on Jesus for so long. He has taught them a lot and now they are commissioned to “go”.
Are they capable to do it?
As we are called to “go” are we capable to spread the good news of Christ?
As much as I believe I try and make scripture and the church relevant to the people, I begin to question how much I am able to equip them to be disciples I question how comfortable they are in sharing their faith. Because we spend so much time in the church reading the Bible, praying, singing and listening to sermons (which is important) but we do not learn how to Go. We do not learn how to spread the good news of Jesus to the world!
I believe there are three important things to remember when we share our faith with someone else.
1. Redefine what failure and success means
There are many hesitations when it comes to sharing our faith with someone. One of the reasons we do not share our faith is because we are afraid because we do not meet our own expectations or we are afraid of being rejected by someone. But by redefining what failure means we can realize that failure only happens when you do not give yourself a chance to succeed. Success comes when we share share our faith and let God take care of the rest.
2. Actions speak louder than words
We can tell people all the right things. But our words do not have any meaning unless we follow it with our actions. It would be terrible to invite someone to come to church with and then not show up! When we are commissioned to “go” that means we actually need to GO!
This may seem like and obvious step but so often we forget to do it! Throughout the whole process of sharing our faith we need to remember to pray. Even before we decide to share our faith with someone, pray about it. Pray, asking God to work with us throughout the entire process and for the person with whom we are interacting.
Taking the commission from Jesus to “go” can be a very scary thing. We may fear failure, inadequacy, or maybe rejection. But the more we are able to let God take care of the rest, it becomes much easier for us to share our faith. And if we remember that it’s our lifestyle, not our words, that will equip us to share, that will also make things easier. And above all else remembering that prayer is a key component in all that we do we may feel more prepared to share our faith as Jesus commissioned us to do.