SHOW AND TELL
THE ART OF DISCIPLESHIP
Kathy Bernard - Publisher
WHEN I was in elementary school, there was a day set aside called "Show and Tell" and students would bring some revolutionary new toy to share with the class. There was the usual assortment of toy soldiers, talking dolls, music boxes, and all sorts of games that one could purchase from toy stores, most of which we had all seen before. But once in a great while something special would make its way to the front of the class and we would lean forward in our seats, straining to see that magnificent offering. Even as we watched we would be scheming how to get something like what we were being shown for ourselves.
I believe all of us could recognize the most magnificent "Show and Tell" toy presented in the class for that week and we had to acknowledge it for it shone out from all the rest. Telling about it, the childs face would glow with pride and importance for that student wanted to share the pleasure, wanted to tell others where this wonderful toy was purchased as well as the cost.
HOW does this apply to us today as adults? Jesus, as He was leaving the earth after His resurrection, commanded us to go forth as His ambassadors and tell all who would listen about the great sacrifice He paid in order to gain salvation for each of us a salvation with a promise of eternal life. And He wanted those of us who have faith in Him to show by our lives that we belong to the highest order that of being a believer. He made it clear that salvation is not for keeping secret or to just share with like Christians, we are asked us to go out into the unbelieving world and "Show and Tell" for all to see.
WHAT if some of us were starving and a generous person gave one of us a large box of food and requested that it be shared with all who needed it? Would you keep that food all for yourself, hiding it in a safe place and telling no one about it? In secret filling your stomach and wiping your mouth carefully before joining the needy? This is what we do when we do not share Gods goodness with everyone we come in contact with. It is not enough to go to church each week to be fed in our beliefs. We are told to spread the word about Gods love, as well as His guarantee of life and happiness forever. God does not want His promises to stop with us. It is our duty to actively seek out and talk to those who do not know Jesus Christ as Saviour, to share the faith and love of our Lord because we want others to have this wonderful inheritance too. This is knowledge too precious and too important to selfishly keep all to ourselves. The Bible tells us that with each soul that is brought to salvation, the angels in Heaven rejoice (Luke15:10).
IN Mathew5:16 Jesus tells us "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven". Conscious of whom we are emulating we must strive to be a living testament of all that Jesus wants us to be. His Presence within us will manifest itself outwardly for we are the "crown princes and princesses" of the Living God .the heirs to the Holy Kingdom of Almighty God. Let us not forget however that even though we are heirs to eternal life we are not above everyone else for God has chosen all who believe in His Son as His heirs. And we are asked to pass His message on so that others might be received into His family. We might invite a friend to lunch and tell them how to get to know Jesus. Or we might have a relative who needs to be led back to Church. We can offer a kind word. We can visit the sick or dying and encourage them by telling of Gods promises of a better life where there will be no more sickness, no more suffering, and no more dying. We can pray with those whose faith is faltering. Strengthen those who are weak and need bolstering. Share with them what God has given to us and show the value of being in the friendship of Jesus.
EVANGELISM is a word most people shy away from. We tend to relegate this action to the clergy. We are apprehensive about approaching someone with Gods "Good News" in the trendy world today. We are afraid of being termed "weird" or we are afraid of being rejected or ignored. Catholics are particularly vulnerable to this for there are so many who think Catholics are sheep who follow but never lead, who perhaps do not understand or read the bible. There are those who think that Catholic Christians do not know Jesus Christ the same way as other Protestant Christians. Most are surprised to hear a Catholic speak with great authority on salvation or talk openly about their faith in our Lord. Rather than seeing Catholics as real live believers in God and Jesus Christ, people of other denominations sometimes prefer to label us as oddities. And so, Catholics are hesitant about sharing their religious experiences. Nevertheless, we have the same charge to witness for Christ as our Protestant neighbors. We must not allow fear of criticism stop us from trying to win souls. We can let others see our inner peace and tranquility for actions speak louder than our words. We might at a social gathering quietly and with dignity bring up our faith with humility, knowledge, and assurance. If we can plant even a small seed of thought in one person, this is a beginning. And if that seed comes to fruition, what a joy for that person and for you who first brought that gift. With prayer our Lord will show us how to do this in a timely way.
JESUS said, "If you are ashamed of Me and My words, I will be ashamed of him or her when I come in glory before the Father"(Mark8-38). We do not need to hide our faith under a barrel. "If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter." 1Peter4:16. We can, in our own way, show people we come in contact with that they are loved, that Jesus is continually extending the hand of friendship. Even though we are all bonded together by earthly pleasures of success or the battles of struggle, good health or bad, the ultimate end will, by our actions, works, and most importantly our faith, signify and determine where we will spend eternity.
WE are all strangers here, for earth is just a way station, a pass through to Heaven or Hell. We can point the way to Heaven to weary fellow travelers who need direction or we can selfishly keep this "Great News" for ourselves, not bothering to "Show and Tell" the wonderful path to glory that we have secured for ourselves. We, as Catholic Christians, have a charge to keep; that of helping other wayfarers find their way home to the Father.
I would appreciate hearing from you concerning this or any of my articles. Please use my comments form. Thanks!