Friday, November 22, 2013

How are YOU a witness to the Gospel of Christ?

2013 New Testament Challenge – Day 7 (Acts 1-4)
Every year I participate in a special effort called the New Testament Challenge sponsored by a priest of the Orthodox Church in America. He encourages Christians to spend the Christmas Fast, also known as Advent) reading the entire New Testament as a preparation for Christmas. Each year I have done this, it has been blessing to me and I pray this year will be no different. As part of the New Testament Challenge, I endeavor to blog a bit about the reading for that particular day. I may miss a few, but I pray for those who follow this blog (NOW ALSO ON FACEBOOK) it will be a blessing.

Today our challenge opens the Book of Acts, which is a continuation of Luke’s Gospel, with the earliest witness of the Church to the world. We are given the example of Apostles and Disciples, filled with such fervor for Christ, who spoke boldly in the public square about the Gospel of Christ.

The bold and courageous witness of the early Church resulted in thousands coming to Faith in Jesus Christ. The faith they possessed was complete enough that “those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did they say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” (Acts 4.32) They took seriously Jesus’ command to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him. They were willing to do without wealth and comfort for the benefit of their “new” brothers and sisters.

I can only imagine what the world would be like if we had such faith today. We live in a world where poverty is extreme and wealth is excessive, and the gap between the two seems to grow ever wider. I don’t believe people actually suffer more today, just that the poverty-wealth gap continues to widen. It seems to me (I’m not an economic history expert) that the so-called developed world has become enslaved to comfort that, while poverty is still “just” poverty, it might SEEM people are suffering more today than ever before. After all….the poor don’t have flat screen TV’s or internet access to read this blog!

Sometimes I close my eyes and dream of what the world might be if we could live with the same fervor our Christian ancestors expressed. Sometimes, I must admit, I think even a fraction of their faith would dramatically change the world today. That is exactly what happened in the past. It was the faith of Christians, organized through the Church, that allowed for hospitals, orphanages, hospice care, etc. With all the hype about the “health care system” and poverty in the world, maybe the REAL solution is for Christians to mobilize, hopefully at the urging and blessing of the Church, to step forward and once again offer the service of compassion to those in need.

It will go a long way further than some government program AND people will feel the love of Christ. THAT would be a witness of Christ’s Gospel…

Until tomorrow….ask yourself, “How am I witnessing to the Gospel of Christ?”

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