This post would have been more beneficial for me, and anyone who reads it, before Thanksgiving this year, but it was born out of a missed opportunity to share the Gospel on Thanksgiving, and if I had been bolder in the moment I wouldn’t be writing this anyway.
Like many Christians this year, I sat down with members of my family who do not yet know Jesus. It was a small group, just 4 0f us plus the baby, and I was asked to “give thanks”, something that only officially happens on Thanksgiving in my family. We all bowed our heads and I began to pray, thanking God for family, friends, the freedoms and blessing that come with living in America, new births (babies), and the gift of generations gathering to remember all that with which we have been blessed.
Not a bad prayer right? But I missed perhaps the easiest and potentially effective opportunity to express gratitude for the atoning, sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the free gift of eternal life in the presence of God that it provides. I shake my head as think about it. This was a small group of very close family who know exactly who I am and what I do, they have never judged my beliefs before and I had no reason to believe that they would have begun to do so after that prayer. But, in the moment I wrestled with whether I should say anything about the Gospel and not doing so won out. I could blame it on feeling inarticulate, but that would be a lie. I could say that I was trying to not make anyone uncomfortable, but the Gospel does that on its own as the “offense” that it is. The fact is that I missed an easy one. Thankfully, I am not in charge of whether my family gets saved, but I am called to faithfully proclaim he gospel to all, and what do I have about which to be more thankful anyway?
Lesson learned: Pray for the boldness to preach the gospel BEFORE entering a situation that may provide an opportunity. Had I been thinking this way, and praying this way, prior to dinner, I would have been prepared, filled with power of the Holy Spirit that enables the sinful and weak man like me to boldly proclaim the salvation of the Lord. This is what the Psalmist meant when he said “tell of His (God’s) salvation from day to day” and what Paul prayed for in Timothy, boldness to proclaim the truth in all situations.
Next time it will be harder, there will be more people listening, more potential criticism, and more temptation to be overcome by the cowardly nature of the flesh. But the reward in that moment will be greater. What will I do? Will I be prepared?… Will you?
I pray the answer is yes, and that more people will be born again to a living hope through our faithfulness to express gratefulness to God for the greatest gift we have been given.