My father-in-law is one of the godliest men I know, and through the years his counsel has proven trustworthy. He’s not one to tell you what you want to hear, and as such, sometimes his advice is unexpected or even surprising. We all need people in our lives willing to tell us what we need to hear, don’t we?
We don’t live in the same town so I am especially thankful for weekly FaceTime visits that keep us current. My favorite moments are when we trade recipes. How precious is it for your seventy-eight-year-old father-in-law to share his “over the top” secrets for making any celebrity chef’s recipe even better? These chats have become increasingly important as he provides twenty-four-hour care for my sweet mother-in-law, confined to bed for over a year now after suffering from advanced dementia and a coincident stroke.
It was during one of our weekly video chats I mentioned to him that I was praying over a speaking opportunity for my weekly Bible study. His quick response was unexpected and a little surprising.
“I don’t pray about those things . . . ” he interjected before I had barely finished my sentence. The confused expression on my face made him grin as he continued, “Whenever I have an opportunity to talk about Jesus, the answer is always yes.”
We talked about the tendency people sometimes have to over-spiritualize simple matters. Inwardly, I also wondered if when we ask for time to pray about an opportunity, it’s little more than a religiously-veiled stalling technique, or maybe even something we think we’re supposed to say in order to sound more spiritual.
When I was younger I generally thought about sharing my testimony in terms of salvation only, that moment when a person hears and responds to the gospel and steps from darkness into light. But at some point, I realized sharing your testimony was simply telling others about — testifying to — the impact and difference your relationship with the Lord is making in your life. While it’s vital to pray over our lives, the people in our lives, and decisions and circumstances, shouldn’t we be eager for any opportunity to tell others about Jesus?
1 Peter 3:15 challenges me to always be ready to share (and Peter doesn’t say anything about praying first):
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer
to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect . . .
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
At the beginning of the year I made a distinction between having to read God’s Word versus getting to read God’s Word. When I consider all the things I have to do as “get to” opportunities instead of “have to” drudgeries, it changes everything:
- When our yard was a disaster after Hurricane Michael tore through town, I got to clean up the mess because we’re fortunate enough to have a home with a yard.
- On a day when my schedule was packed, when my college senior called to tell me “I need my Mama,” I got to drop everything and go to him because I’m fortunate to work from home and he was more important than anything else on my to-do list.
- I get to clean my house and do my laundry and cook dinner because we have a home and clothes to wear and food to eat.
It’s a really fun practice to flip whatever your “have to” is at the moment and make it a “get to” opportunity. A “get to” attitude clears your vision to see the blessing in what you need to do.
Sharing our faith should be a get to proposition, shouldn’t it? What if we took advantage of every opportunity to share how God is working in our lives?
Recently, I was asked to teach a Bible study, but I don’t feel like I have the gift of teaching. Pretty much every time I’ve lead a women’s group, I served more as a facilitator of discussion instead of teaching content outside the leader’s guide. This time would be different because the format was to be lecture-style, and I would be researching and studying to prepare my message. When asked, I caught myself before I told our leader I’d pray about it, and I simply said yes.
I didn’t have to teach, I got to teach. This was a “yes” outside my comfort zone, but I believe it was God who extended this opportunity to me, and how could I say no? I trusted Him to provide everything I would need to teach, and I listened in prayer and in Scripture for where He was leading me. I prayed over the lesson, my words, and the women who would be there, but I didn’t pray about whether or not to say yes. I took to heart what my father-in-law said because every opportunity to talk about Jesus is always a yes!
What have you been praying about lately that you just need to say yes to?
A 'get to' attitude clears your vision to see the blessing in what you need to do. - @robindance: Click To Tweet