In the days before emails, a boy was given a message to take home to his parents. Worried that it might not be well received he hid it instead of handing it on, so sure was he that it conveyed something condemnatory about his work or behaviour. From time to time he thought about the envelope hidden in its secret hiding place and thought he ought to do something about it, but he pushed the thought away into the back recesses of his mind. In time he forgot about the message altogether. It was not until a year or so later that the teacher expressed surprise to his parents that they had never replied to his invitation for the boy to accept the travelling scholarship he had been offered. Too late now to do anything about it! It had been awarded to another student. Does that story say something to us? We, in the church, have been handed a message with instructions to hand it on to others, but are we like the boy who hid the message in a secret place? We are not sure how the message will be received. It might only cause us trouble. Better to keep it hidden away. We don’t want to be embarrassed. There are so many other messages floating around that we think, what’s the use of adding our message to the pile? No one will take it seriously. We are so ashamed by the church’s behaviour, or that by some of its members and leaders, that we are sure we’d only get into trouble if we tried to deliver the message now. Yet, very clearly the gospel message is for all people. It might have its origins in ancient Judaism and have been adapted and adjusted by the church over the centuries, but the truth remains, “The Lord is Lord of all and generous to all who call on him.” But how are they to call if they have not believed, and how are they to believe if they have never received the message?
- Have you ever forgotten to deliver a message for someone?
- How effective is the church in handing on God’s message to the people of Australia today?
- What obstacles are there to sharing the Gospel today?
- What inhibits you from sharing your faith with other people?