by David Phelps
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” – Mother Teresa
I’m seriously in jeopardy of losing my “techie” credentials. Back in June, I admitted that I don’t “get” certain modern things like “Twitter” and that I had only just broken down and bought a “Bluetooth” cell phone headset. Now I’m writing to say that I have serious doubts about GPS technology.
Specifically, I worry that some folks I know who are in their early twenties can’t follow directions. Instead of “How do I get there?” their first question is invariably “What’s the address?” They need the address to enter into their GPS. Instead of “Take I-70 to I-170, go south, get off at Olive, turn left and go east about two blocks and you’ll see a strip mall on the right,” they want to hear “Blah blah blah Olive.”
If you’re curious, GPS (Global Positioning System) technology works by receiving signals from satellites and calculating your position based on how far you are from each satellite. Signals from three different satellites are required in order to calculate your position accurately. A GPS unit can be a great tool—something I’ve been trying to impress on my wife, Charlotte—but you shouldn’t need one to cross the street. Instead, you should be able to follow directions.
One of my favorite Bible stories is the one in Acts 8:26-40. It’s about the apostle Philip and a eunuch who was an official of Queen Candace of Ethiopia. As the eunuch rode back from Jerusalem to Ethiopia, he was reading a scroll containing what we know today as the book of Isaiah (vs. 30). Philip asked him, “‘Do you understand what you are reading?’” (vs. 30b ESV). The other man replied, “‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’” (vs. 31a ESV). Philip went on to interpret the passage (Isa. 53:7-8) and led the eunuch to salvation (vs. 35-38).
Admittedly, encounters such as this are rare but we should still be ready. An encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible isn’t necessary but it does help to know your Bible. Personally I’ve read the entire Bible but that doesn’t necessarily make me a good witness. Please understand that I am not suggesting that it’s unimportant to know your Bible. The Bible is the source of our faith. It’s how we know and learn about God. It’s a cornerstone of what we believe. Being a Christian without any knowledge of the Bible is like being a carpenter who doesn’t know what a hammer is. Thomas asked Jesus, “‘How can we know the way?’” (John 14:5b ESV). And Jesus replied, “‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through
me. . . .’”(John 14:6b ESV). If we know Jesus, then we know the way, and one of the ways we learn about him is through his Word.
Martha Grace Reese, author of the
“Unbinding . . .”series of books, writes that it’s much more important to have something personal to say. Each of us needs to have a story of what God has done for us and be willing to share it. The story doesn’t need to be dramatic like being “saved” from a wretched life of sin or miraculously healed. For those of us who are Methodists, John Wesley wrote in his journal, “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation;” and he went on to write, “. . . Ithen testified openly to all there what I now first felt in my heart.” This was far from a dramatic conversion experience. There were no histrionics. No shouting. No repenting of a life of depravity. Wesley simply felt his “. . . heartstrangely warmed.” He experienced salvation and then he testified.
We don’t hear the word “testified” in some churches much these days but it simply means “shared.” If I can articulate what God has done for me, then I can tell others what God can do for them. If you read an amazing book or saw a great movie, you’d want to tell people about it; you’d want to share it. How much more so for your relationship with Christ? We can share. You can. I can. Any Christian can.
“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’” (John 14:5-7 ESV.)