On our way home from school today we started talking about Christmas. We were discussing the importance of baby Jesus to the holiday – something my five-year-old twins are still figuring out. As we did, one of them said, referring to my work, “Mommy, do you tell Jesus to the [church] family and we get to listen?”
My jaw fell to the floor.
We honestly haven’t really had an in-depth conversation about what I do in-between them being dragged to committee meeting after meeting and enjoying Sunday School, coming to Night Church, watching me have to do way too much organizing and writing on my computer, and occasionally getting to go visit people (post-Covid world and all). I really wasn’t sure they had any idea what my job was. So I was absolutely floored by my son’s question – do you tell Jesus to the family?
Here’s a question for all of us who are looking to follow the carpenter-turned-preacher who lived two millennia ago: how well are we “telling Jesus” these days?
More than eight hundred years ago, a monk felt the call to change the world by truly caring for the people – the little people, that is: the poor, the regular people, the ignored, the lost and the forgotten. He used to say, “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” While he is much better known for his love of animals, most people don’t realize how much he revolutionized the medieval church, or at least a major segment of it. And over two hundred and fifty years before the Reformation. Francis of Assisi spent his adult life “telling Jesus” in every way that he could plus showing others how to do the same.
In our day and age, we often hear the word “tell” and assume that it requires the use of literal verbiage. Yet actions communicate thousands, millions of messages that go far deeper than mere words ever can.
Yes, I get that a very large chunk of my work, my vocation and my profession are all tied up in text – from sermons to Scriptures to newsletters to this very blog.
However, we need to remember that for many people, we will be the only Bible they ever get to read. How we represent the Jesus we are meant to “tell” to the world matters.
If we are going to follow that self-same child of Bethlehem we are all getting ready to celebrate soon, we should probably look to his own words and commands for how he would have us do it. And the simplest is probably this: This is how they will know you are my disciples – if you love…
Go and tell that Jesus in everything you do (and occasionally say).
Artwork: “Through Him, All Things” by the Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman of A Sanctified Art, Inc.