Saturday, January 19, 2008

It's Not About the Messenger

Have you ever been given an opportunity to share your faith but did not do so because you were afraid you would mess it up? When I was in the hospital after giving birth to my second son, my roommate was a girl in her late teens and an unwed mother. As we watched the 11:00 news, the subject of the future came up after viewing some particularly disturbing story. She told me her grandmother used to say Jesus was coming back again and would end the world as we know it. I told her I also believed that. The conversation grew silent. Here was my opportunity to express that only those who believed in Christ for their salvation would be taken up at his coming. My heart pounding, I tried to form the words that would express my concern for her salvation. How could I bring up the subject without being offensive to her? What if I actually turned her off to the saving good news of Christ? What if I did it wrong? I hesitated too long. The conversation moved on. I had lost the window of opportunity because I couldn’t figure out just the right thing to say.

Feelings of inadequacy can paralyze us in doing the work of God. Before every retreat where I speak, I look in the mirror and wonder why anyone would bother to listen to this overweight, middle-aged woman. In our culture, appearance is everything. Countless shows on TV chronicle make-overs where women go from frumpy to fantastic. They emerge at the end of the show, confident in their new hair, makeup, and wardrobe, twirling and showing off their new look to family and friends. I am a make-over wannabe.

Yet the truth of the matter is this: when it comes to sharing truth about Christ, neither smooth talking nor a beautiful appearance is where the power lies. I was amused and rather struck to find this verse in 2 Corinthians 10:10. Paul is writing about himself. It has become my new life verse: “For they say, ‘His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible.’ ” Paul wrote strong letters, filled with astounding truth and depth. Yet when those who had heard his written words actually met him in person, they were shocked. Who was this dumpy, inarticulate guy? Could he actually be the author of such profound writing?

Our effectiveness has never been about us at all. We are mere messengers. The power is in the message. Our job is to get the truth of God out into the airwaves. God’s Word is powerful and effective. It changes lives. The Lord promised Isaiah: “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so will my word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10,11). God will use His Word to accomplish His purposes. Success in its mission does not have anything to do with us at all. The power and effectiveness lies in the truth of the message. Paul’s writing was a result of the work of the Holy Spirit. The power in its words was the power of God. Not the power of Paul.

When I teach at a retreat, I am relieved to know this fact. If I am faithful to share God’s Word with the ladies in my audience, I can expect God to take His Word and work effectively to change lives. It is not about the messenger.

We can be confident in our sharing of the truth with others because we have a faithful God. It is HE who works in us and through our efforts. Don’t be afraid if you feel like an inadequate messenger. Know that God will use our fumbling attempts to accomplish His purposes, “for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

10 comments:

lady83 said...

Julie, thank you for sharing your
insights with the rest of us - I will
be looking forward to future comments. The Lord is using you even as you prepare yourself for greater things!

Aunt Alice

Heather Nicole said...

Welcome to Blogdom! I'm so glad you and your thoughts are here:)
Heather

Aunt Eleanor said...

It is a pleasure to read how clearly and articulately you write. I hope that your blogging will contribute to the wonderful things you are about to publish!

Aunt Eleanor

Kathryn Leight said...

Hi Julie! Thanks for including me in this notification. I am looking forward to reading more of your writing.

Kathryn

Brig said...

Can men write here?! Thanks for sharing your blog with us. Great avenue for a writer to communicate. We so enjoyed our recent visit. Home safely!!

Elizabeth said...

Wow, whoever took that profile picture of you is pretty awesome. I bet the photographer's mother thinks that they are the best kid ever. :-)
Great article mom... you prove yourself over and over again to be not only a great and articulate writer, but a thought-provoking teacher. I look forward to the next post!

cousin said...

Julie,

You are awesome!

Love, Kathie

Meredith said...

Julie -

This is amazing, and I look forward to more writing. You are truly an inspiration.

Meredith

Loris said...

Julie,
I like your blog very much. You write well and you have important things to say. Best wishes on all your endeavors, including graduate school, this blog and your continued ministry.
-Loris

janet4Christ said...

Julie, I love your last blog. You are truly a spirit filled women. Can not wait to read more. love,
Janet Scali (new hope)